Kramer wins the Presidential Excellence Award

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Kramer submitted a video of a lesson to qualify for the 2019 Presidential Excellence Award in Mathematics and Science Teaching. In the lesson, students would study and notice patterns in the sound waves of different musical instruments. “I had to cover wavelength frequency and the speed of sound, so instead of just saying what the equation is, I tied it in with musical instruments,” said Kramer.

Jordan Eisen, Editor-In-Chief

Over the summer, physics teacher Elegan Kramer received the 2019 Presidential Excellence Award in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the highest award given to science and math teachers by the U.S. government, to reward her time and hard work given to North and her students. Only two teachers in each state or U.S. territory receive this award each year.

“Ever since I was little, I enjoyed helping people. I wanted to work in a service kind of profession, so my top choices were a doctor, a nurse or a teacher. The reason I went into teaching as opposed to the other professions is because I enjoyed helping students understand something difficult such as physics,” said Kramer.

Teachers generally go into the field of education because they like helping students, but Kramer’s cheerful energy and willingness to help her students were evident in the classroom.

“The best thing that she did was make sure that everybody understood everything we were doing. Also, she was always free to talk after school or during ac lab,” said senior Giselle Krikorian.

While students may perceive this extreme effort as exhausting, it’s why Kramer loves her job.

“Trying to take something that’s difficult, or difficult seeming, and making it understandable for students and them having that ‘aha’ moment is very rewarding,” said Kramer.

To be eligible for the award, teachers are first nominated, then submit proof of excellence which are reviewed by a panel of teachers at the state and national level. When Dr. Karen LaFever was asked to select a teacher to be nominated for the Presidential Excellence Award, she chose Kramer.

In order to compete for the award, teachers from across the country compiled video recordings of a lesson and a 25 page essay about it.

“The lesson I submitted for the award incorporated music with physics. There’s been a push lately with STEAM. By pulling other subjects into science, I can reach more students,” said Kramer.

Aside from the innovative lesson, a significant reason why Kramer was selected for the award is her trademarked enthusiasm when talking about physics.

“She’s a really outgoing person and I think that really helped everyone be comfortable in the classroom,” said Krikorian.

Even when she’s not on camera with a $10,000 award at stake, Kramer still helps her students and makes them feel comfortable whether talking about physics or life.

“[Physics] was the hardest class I’ve ever taken, so I’m really glad I had Ms. Kramer as my teacher,” said Krikorian.

“ I had a lot of really great conversations with her outside of class that weren’t even about physics. She’s also a really outgoing person and I think that really helped everyone be comfortable in the classroom,” said Krikorian.

Now that North is completely virtual, Kramer is using her skills in technology to help students in a different way by organizing Distance Learning instead of teaching science.

“[This year], I’m stepping away from the classroom. My official title is Virtual Developer and what that means is that I’m helping teachers with their educational technology needs, which has been mostly Schoology and Zoom,” said Kramer.

Even though she likes her job as a Virtual Developer, like most teachers, Kramer can’t wait to get back in the classroom.

“I do want to go back to teaching because I do miss the students and their interaction with them,” said Kramer.

Whenever people needed help, Ms. Kramer would always be sure to help everyone, even if she was busy.

“This was the hardest class I’ve ever taken so I’m really glad I had Ms. Kramer as my teacher,” said Krikorian.