Photos by Rome City Schools

Exciting news sprouted from Elm Street Elementary School as they celebrate first grade teacher, Ashley Greenway, who has been selected as one of three state finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) in the area of science.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the nation’s highest honor given by the United States government specifically for K-12 teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science. The program was established by Congress in 1983 and is administrated by the National Science Foundation on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Every two years, the application for the award opens for teachers (K-12) to apply. “You have to submit a 30-minute, unedited video of a science lesson, as well as a 25-page paper where you explain your own teaching methods, awards, how you have managed outreach in your community, professional development and more,” explained Greenway.

State finalists, like Mrs. Greenway, will go through a second round of evaluations at the national level, and if selected, the state finalist is then recommended to The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to receive the award.

“I have been very anxious to find out the results, as I have been preparing for this for about two years or longer,” said Greenway. “They selected the finalists in June, but just announced the winners yesterday [August 20]. I was very excited to hear that all of the hard work I put into the in-depth application process and everything that came before it (writing multiple grants, getting new resources for my classroom, etc.…) has paid off,” said Greenway.

Not only is Mrs. Greenway an exemplary teacher, but last year alone, she helped Elm Street raise around $100,000 for materials for the school—not just for her classroom, but for the entire building. As Elm Street Principal, Laura Walley smiled, “The sky is the limit for Ms. Greenway.”

“This kind of recognition for Ms. Greenway shows the caliber of teachers we have here at Elm Street. Ms. Greenway is a mentor for others and wants the best for the entire school, which has shown in receiving a finalist spot for this prestigious award,” said Walley.

In her application, Mrs. Greenway talked about what her students do, as well as the many opportunities for hands-on learning that happens at Elm Street. “In class, my students create stop animation, record themselves in our studio recording booth reading a book they have written, make worm farms, make green screen commercials and more fun things along those lines to really emphasize language development and all of those soft skills,” explained Greenway.

“We have a stage in my classroom, which we use for students to stand up and present their lab reports. We also have Lego walls, a teleprompter, and so many more things that make learning fun for students,” said Greenway. “I am just excited to show the world what Elm Street is doing here. The community partnerships and the community support here is something really special, and I am glad I can contribute in any way I can.”

Walley raved about the award and future potential for Greenway to be recognized at the White House when she said, “It’s a big deal.”

“Ms. Greenway is very innovative and thinks outside of the box when it comes to teaching our kids, as well as our teachers, and has led the way and served as a mentor to many. She is so helpful because at Elm Street we are a family,” Walley continued. “Ms. Greenway lives our motto every single day. She is so gracious and wants the best for every single student at Elm Street, not just the ones she teaches. We are so excited!”

“The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year.
Awards are given to mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, or the U.S. territories as a group (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands).
The award recognizes those teachers who develop and implement a high-quality instructional program that is informed by content knowledge and enhances student learning. Since the program’s inception, more than 4,700 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.”