Educator Named Carnegie Science Award Winner
Fox Chapel Area School District teacher Alison Francis has been named the winner of the 2017 Carnegie Science Center’s Elementary Educator Award. Francis, who is the facilitator of the district’s Creativity and Literacy Program, is receiving the award for her innovative teaching and her work as a leader in both STEM- (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and maker-education.
Francis has dedicated her career to making science accessible to young learners and she described STEM-based instruction as “a great way to make learning come alive for students.” As a result, Francis developed the Creativity and Literacy Program for young children and their caregivers to experiment with technology tools. Additionally, she also established a Digital Dream Studio at O’Hara Elementary for students and teachers to explore game-based learning together.
Francis was nominated for the award by Megan Cicconi, the district’s director of instructional and innovative leadership. According to Cicconi, Francis is a regional leader in both early childhood and elementary education. “Her expertise in providing opportunities for students to engage with STEM-concepts is unrivaled, and we are grateful to the Carnegie Science Center, Eaton, and Chevron for recognizing her with this prestigious award.”
Francis is among a total of seven people being recognized for their leadership in education in the region. She will be presented with the award by Chevron during a formal celebration at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland May 12 at 6 p.m. In addition to educators, the event will also honor the achievements of the region’s top scientists, engineers, and innovators.
“I’m excited that I am being recognized for the innovative programming that I’ve been able to create with the support of the district,” said Francis, who began her career in the Fox Chapel Area School District teaching kindergarten at Fairview Elementary School in 2009. In 2013 she developed the district’s STEM-based Creativity and Literacy Program, located at Kerr Elementary, for young learners and their caregivers.
The Carnegie Science Center established the Carnegie Science Awards program in 1997 to recognize and promote outstanding science and technology achievements in Western Pennsylvania. The awards program presenting sponsor this year is Eaton.