Technology and community.
Those are the things that led to the nomination of David Yackuboskey, a science and robotics teacher at North Catholic High School, for the 2021 Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference (TRETC) Innovation in Education Teacher of the Year title.
They're also what led to Yackuboskey, who came to North Catholic in 2016, receiving the designation this week.
“This award is validation,” Yackuboskey said. “We are providing students really formative experiences in the classroom, during extracurriculars and in the ways we engage the community.”
The school's Service Through STEM activities integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects and community experiences in places such as assisted-living centers.
Yackuboskey said he hopes to see students continue using their technology knowledge to meet goals, prepare for careers and serve their communities.
One of the projects of which Yackuboskey is particularly proud was conducted by North Catholic's class of FIRST Robotics students.
“It involved 3D printing replacement legs for the plastic dividers in our art room,” Yackuboskey said. “The acrylic legs broke, and our students designed and printed over 30 replacement legs.”
The pandemic has made it a strange year for students. Yackuboskey said it's important for schools to maintain educational experiences, despite the challenges being faced.
“Students are resilient,” Yackuboskey said. “Teachers understand what is at stake.”
Yackuboskey said there's a “sense of gratitude and growing creativity” when it comes to the way students are utilizing technology to navigate learning in a pandemic.
Some of those approaches may stay around after life returns to normal, according to Yackuboskey.
For Yackuboskey, the honor of being TRETC Innovation in Education Teacher of the Year is motivation to continue STEM projects in the North Catholic community.
“The key is to have a growth mindset and see the challenges as opportunities,” Yackuboskey said.