VALLEY CHRISTIAN SECOND-GRADE TEACHER RECEIVES NASA AWARD FOR SPACE-STATION HOOKUPBy Herald American
Pam Leestma, a second grade teacher at Valley Christian Elementary School, and a New York teacher named Neme Alperstein have received the 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The two elementary school teachers teamed up last year to conduct the first coast-to-coast television hookup via the International Space Station, which allowed students from the two schools to chat with astronauts.
The Excellence in Education Award seeks to recognize educators for the innovative use of technology within their curriculum.
“Your team teaching approach together with Ms. Alperstein, along with the In-flight Education Downlink with Astronauts and Science Skype sessions between classrooms has been recognized as outstanding the by NASA Office of the Chief Information Officer,” said NASA Information Officer Linda Cureton in a letter to Leestma.
“I was so excited to meet Charles Bolden, NASA’s administrator, who flew with my cousin, Dave Leestma, on the STS-45 Space Shuttle mission,” Leetsma said. “I am so delighted to say that my school and the work I do is now on a national level with NASA Space Education.”
Leestma has lived in Bellflower since 1981. She has been a teacher for 35 years, the last 30 at Valley Christian.