DEER LODGE -- A science teacher at Powell County High School in Deer Lodge has received one of the nation's highest honors for math and science teachers in grades K-12.
Jessica Anderson is the recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, according to a news release.
On Aug. 22, President Obama named 213 mathematics and science teachers -- including Anderson -- as recipients of the award recognizing their efforts and practices, innovation, and positive relationships in the science classroom.
Anderson, as the 2016 Montana Teacher of the Year, was honored in April at the White House with other state honorees from across the country.
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“For me, the Presidential Award illustrates my mission to empower and elevate my profession as an educator and science teacher,'' she said. "In addition, it means I can continue to use my teacher voice to be an influential ambassador for science education in my state and country.”
Anderson, an Anaconda native, started her teaching career nine years ago in a one-room schoolhouse in Gold Creek— a classroom similar to the one her grandmother once taught in on the North Dakota plains.
For the past eight years at Powell County High School, she has taught earth science, chemistry, physics and astronomy. She also teaches oceanography online through the Montana Digital Academy.
She uses a teaching technique known as blended learning. The computer-assisted approach blends digital classrooms, connecting her students with scientists and students from around the world, with traditional face-to-face instruction. In the field, Anderson’s students have analyzed soils and stream quality of the Clark Fork River, planted vegetation along the banks of tributaries and helped discover new bacteriophages.
In 2015, she was selected by BetterLesson as one of 11 Blended Learning Master Teachers in the U.S. for a $15,000 stipend to share her blended learning practices.
Anderson received a B.A.E. in elementary education from Pacific Lutheran University and a M.S. in science education from Montana State University. She is on a sabbatical pursuing a Ph.D. in learning, instruction, and innovation from Walden University.