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Teacher Ralph Rise receives statewide award


LR science teacher Ralph Rise accepts an award at the Rotary Club Wednesday from the Pacific Science Center Director Sonia Siegel Vexler for his science education advocacy.

Science teacher Ralph Rise was presented with a statewide award last week, an example for educators across the state.

Sonia Siegel Vexler, co-director of LASER, the Pacific Science Center’s Leadership Assistance for Science Education Reform, presented Rise Wednesday with a check for $5,000 and a trophy in the form of a Galileo thermometer with a special inscription. Rise will give the money to the school to further the science programs that have built him a reputation over the last several years. The money comes from Boeing.

Vexler said the board deciding on their five winners this year all knew of Rise’s work.

“Everybody in the room, except me, knew who Ralph Rise was,” she said, and they talked non-stop about his programs.

To present the award, before the Grand Coulee Dam Rotary Club at the Siam Palace, Vexler listed some of the Lake Roosevelt High School teacher’s efforts that give him the reputation of a fine educator and an advocate for his students and for science education:

• He set up a pre-college chapter of the American Indian Science Engineering Society, and through this affiliation has been able to reach out to Colville tribal employees in STEM areas, who collaborate and give expertise to the class.

• He reached out to universities. “He could just sit here and say, ‘I am in this small little town and woe is me, but instead he said, ‘I’m going to the University of Washington and I’m going to get their partnership.’”

• He is involved in Educurious. LR is one of six pilot sites across nation that gets professors at universities as mentors through this program.

• He wrote a $1.2 million grant for project-based learning for a biomedical curriculum at the high school.

• He has a Boeing software architect dedicated to four hours a week for face to face meetings with students to help them with a Rotary International Project.

“Because of Ralph’s science education advocacy … his students are excited about science and they’re engaging at a higher level,” she said.

“He’s an excellent teacher, and he has truly gone over and beyond his job description,” she said. “Congratulation again for the great work that you do here and for the impact that you’re having across the state.”

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