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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Falcon teacher chosen for space academy

Alyce Dalzell, sixth grade math and science teacher at Meridian Ranch Elementary School in Falcon, is one of 265 teachers worldwide chosen for participation in the Honeywell Educators Space Academy program in Huntsville, Ala.According to a news release, the Honeywell program, in conjunction with the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, provides teachers with “new and innovative techniques to educate students about science and math.” Almost 1,000 teachers competed to attend the program.In a phone interview, Dalzell said her group of participants is comprised of 36 teachers, 25 of whom live and teach outside of the United States. She’s already in contact via e-mail with some of the teachers, who hail from places like Russia, Jerusalem and Australia, she said. Twenty-one countries and 43 U.S. states are represented. The programs are scheduled from June 18 through June 25.Dalzell will complete 50 hours of professional development and take part in the creation of an educator curriculum, which will focus on space science and exploration. “We’ll spend a lot of time writing curriculums for math and science, and NASA will publish these as real-life math and science lessons,” she said. “It’s such an honor to be a part of that.”To add to the excitement, Dalzell said she’ll learn first hand what it’s like to be an astronaut. Honeywell reported that the teachers will participate in astronaut training exercises that include a “high-performance jet simulation, scenario-based space missions, land and water survival training and a state-of-the-art flight dynamics programs.””The students are just as excited for me,” Dalzell said. “It’s real-life experiences you can share with the students that ignite their passion to be an expert in their area.”Dalzell has been teaching 29 years, and her own passion resonates as if she’s just stepped out of college. Pictures of Einstein don the walls of her classroom, and she calls all her students math maniacs – scientists and mathematicians.But it’s more than being an Einstein, Dalzell said.”It’s teaching kids how to be in charge of their lives … from checkbooks to buying a used car; we talk about practical uses, too (for math),” she said. Some perceive her job teaching math and science to sixth graders as drudgery, she said. But it’s not that way for Dalzell. “I adore my kids,” she said.They apparently adore her, too. She recently ran into a former student at Sonic Burger in Falcon. With enthusiasm, he started telling her about his plans for college at a trade school, she said. “And then he said, ‘You are one of the few teachers I know who would be excited for me.'”Wal-Mart also recognized Dalzell’s commitment to teaching with its teacher-of-the-year award in 2006.This year, Honeywell leaders rewarded her contributions to future generations.”The importance of inspiring our next generation to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering fields cannot be underestimated,” said Thomas Buckmaster, president of Honeywell Hometown Solutions. “Teachers are the catalysts for learning, and we are delighted to provide them with the tools and resources to help them bring science to life in the classroom.”Since the beginning of the program in 2004, Honeywell and its employees have sponsored 730 scholarships for teachers throughout the world.All costs for the program, including tuition for the six-day program, roundtrip airfare, meals, accommodations and program materials, are paid through contributions of more than 1,700 Honeywell employees.Larry Capps, chief executive officer of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, said that Honeywell has allowed the center to “bring teachers from around the world together to share their experiences and learn activities they can take back and implement in their classrooms.””This is an exciting opportunity,” Dalzell said. “It’s a dream come true.”Editor’s note: We will have a follow up article in the NFH when Alyce returns from the Honeywell program in Alabama.

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