By Sadef Ali Kully
A Bellerose teacher at the Queens High School for the Sciences at York College said she would not have been named one of the seven to receive a Sloan Awards For Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics without with support of her colleagues.
The awards recognize New York City public high school teachers who motivate students to reach further, work harder, and develop and expand their love for science and mathematics. The teachers must also inspire students to pursue careers in science and mathematics.
Queens High School for the Sciences at York College teacher Shanaz Baksh was chosen out of thousands of teachers.
Baksh’s science research course pairs students with scientists and professors across the city who guide students in crafting original scientific research projects.
“I like to make them love science,” Baksh said, a Bellerose resident. “My courses include skills that can be used later in life.”
Baksh, who teaches AP Biology, freshman research and advanced science research, said skills such as citing sources for research, oral presentations and peer review can go straight from the classroom into the workplace.
“The AP biology exam has changed and there is more argumentative writing so I try to incorporate that into my classes,” she said.
Baksh said that her students sometimes become the teacher.
“Students are very open to anything and sometimes if I find out about some new technology, they will tell me about it. They do not turn their nose down on me just because I might not know something.”
She said in the future she would love to teach computer programming after she learned more about computer science at a teacher’s conference.
Baksh said the award would not have been possible without the help of her supportive colleagues, principal and York College, which neighbors Queens High School for the Sciences.
According to the Sloan Foundation, in order to qualify, a teacher must have taught math or science in the city’s high schools for at least five years and must demonstrate excellence in teaching and in achieving results.
The winners are chosen by an independent panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators.
Each teacher will be awarded a prize of $5,000 and each school will receive $2,500 to strengthen their science or mathematics department.
The winners were chosen from applications submitted by parents, students, teachers, and administrators throughout the five boroughs. These schools range in size from 400 students at the Queens High School for the Sciences at York College to more than 3,400 students at New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull