ELMS Teacher Named "Teacher of Year" for Urban STEM Education

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Jason Toner, seventh and eighth grade science teacher at the Expeditionary Learning Middle School in Syracuse, was awarded Terra Urban Educator of the Year at the 2014 Terra Transforming Urban Education Conference held in Syracuse.

Toner started environmental education at age 17 in Allegany State Park as a naturalist and joined Cornell University in 1996.  In 2007, he began teaching  Environmental Science at Nottingham High School before transitioning to middle school science education to prepare students with a strong background in science in order to succeed in high school, college and beyond. Toner is a scientist who loves to teach science in an urban setting.

Not only is he devoted to the excellence of teaching, Toner also catches every learning opportunity he sees that is valuable for students to grow. He has completed over 50 research projects with students in past four years and led a wide range of creative expedition events held at his school, the Syracuse War Memorial, the Syracuse Center of Excellence and the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. All these events received enormous approval from students, parents, district administrators and community members.

Toner believes the Scientific Method and Experimental Design are extremely important to foster high level thinking and logical reasoning. He leads all students to do science experiments and competes at the Environmental Challenge at SUNY ESF every year. In line with "A Quest for Change" expedition, the science fair project also addresses contributions of scientists in different areas and how their discoveries have changed our understanding of the natural world.

For more information about Terra, the annual Transforming Urban Education Conference and the Educator of the Year award, visit terraed.org.