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Celebrating Excellence at ASPIRE Academy at Connolly

Post Date:05/12/2020 2:26 PM

ASPIRE Students in a group photoASPIRE Academy at Connolly has had a great 2019-2020 school year filled with many accomplishments! We have highlighted a few of these accomplishments and hope you are able to celebrate alongside us. Thank you to our amazing ASPIRE Academy staff and students for your hard work and excellence this school year!

In the Fall, ASPIRE Academy and Connolly Chief Science Officers (CSO) conducted a STEM educational intervention with Connolly's self-contained PALS and PUPALS students. The CSOs were able to generate important original research data and present that data at the Arizona Educational Research Organization's Annual Conference in December. The organizer of the AERO Conference, Dr. Ann Nielsen, was so impressed with our students' presentation that she wanted them to begin planning for the visit by the 20 South Korean STEM teachers.   

Also in the Fall, CSOs presented to four South Korean STEM professors who came to ASPIRE Academy to learn more about our teaching methods while on their visit to Arizona State University. Of the four professors who visited, one was the president of the university. Based on the CSO’s outstanding presentation to professors, ASPIRE/Connolly was selected to be a site visit by 20 South Korean pre-service STEM teachers during their visit to ASU in February 2020 to learn about how we teach STEM in the United States. Unfortunately, their trip had to be canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

At the AERO Conference, ASPIRE Academy administration and ASPIRE Math Explorations PBL Teacher Ariel Roller were approached by an attending science professor who encouraged them to make a presentation proposal to the National Science Teaching Association's Conference in Phoenix. The professor told them that our ASPIRE students' research presentation was exactly the sort of research they were interested in promoting. Based on the submission, the Yuma Educators Summit invited ASPIRE Academy to submit a presentation proposal for their summer National Science Teaching Association Conference. We have been extremely busy this year, and our CSOs have created an outstanding reputation for themselves and our District in the Valley.

Two ASPIRE students talking to each otherMost recently, on May 7, ASPIRE Academy won two top awards at the Arizona SciTech Institute’s CSO end-of-year celebration. Four ASPIRE Academy and Connolly Middle School students were recognized with the CSO Team of the Year Award! Congratulations to Avery Schwab, Connor Clemens, Ethan Burns, and Lily Neuwirth. ASPIRE Academy Coordinator Gerry Taylor was also recognized with the CSO Advisor of the Year Award!  

These two CSO awards this past week, CSO Team of the Year and CSO Advisor of the Year, are the fourth and fifth top STEM awards that ASPIRE Academy at Connolly Middle School have won four years in a row – an unprecedented achievement. In 2017, Ariel Roller won a Cox Communications' Connect2STEM Teacher Teckie Award. In 2018, ASPIRE Academy at Connolly CSO, Alper Gel, won Cox Communications' Connect2STEM Student Teckie Award. In 2019, ASPIRE Academy at Connolly CSO, Shalae Clemens, won the CSO of the Year Award. Now, in 2020, ASPIRE Academy at Connolly won the CSO Team of the Year and CSO Advisor of the Year Awards. No other school district in Arizona will ever win as many top STEM awards in four straight years as the Tempe Elementary School District!

Thank you for always supporting our students, parents, teachers, and administrators, and our now multiple award-winning CSO Program. There is no finer cadre of student STEM educators in the Valley than those found at ASPIRE Academy at Connolly!