Award for Excellence in Teaching Earth Sciences 2010

Title: RMAG and RMAG Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching Earth Sciences 2010
Publication: The Outcrop, September 2010, p. 25
Award: Excellence in Teaching Earth Sciences (“Teacher of the Year”)
Awardee: Sharon Milito

This is the tenth year that the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists Foundation has honored a teacher that actively promotes excellence in teaching of earth science with its “Teacher of the Year Award.” The recipient is awarded a plaque and a cash award, provided by the RMAG Foundation, and it is through the generous donations and supporters of the Foundation that this is made possible. A subcommittee of the K-12 Education and Public Outreach Committee solicits and judges applications submitted by teachers from throughout the Front Range area.

Jerry Cuzella and Sharon Milito

The 2010 recipient of our Excellence in Teaching Award is Ms. Sharon Milito. Sharon earned her undergraduate degree in education from the University of Northern Colorado and holds a M.A. degree in Teaching Integrated Natural Science from Colorado College and has been a teacher for 25 years. Currently she teaches 4th grade at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Colorado Springs, where she also teaches reading, writing, math, social studies and all other sciences. Sharon is a volunteer paleontology-geology researcher for the Denver Museum of Natural Science and the City of Colorado Springs which allows her to share field experiences with her students. She was a contributor to the RMAG Mountain Geologists in the January 2010 issue, with a paper entitled “A Survey of Fossils and Geology of Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Colorado Springs Colorado.”

Her colleagues attest that she is an inspiring educator, who strives to instill in her students a love of learning and provides opportunities for them to fulfill their potential and brings a love of earth science to her students in all areas of their instruction. She is always willing to go above and beyond to share her experiences with students and fellow teachers. Although earth science is not a part of the district’s 4th grade curriculum, Sharon is passionate about the science and is able to integrate it into aspects of the mandated curriculum. Her goal is that students be literate not only in reading and writing but in science as well.

She organizes and leads field trips to Red Rock Canyon Open Space, the Paint Mines, and Sand Creek. With these field experiences she calls attention to the complex system of rock, water, air, and life interactions. She emphasizes the importance of human dependence on natural resources for our way of life from energy to materials we use every day such as light bulbs to the homes we live in, all with an environmental cognizance.

Sharon established the “School Garden” which incorporates the elementary school earth science curriculum into a living science classroom. In addition, every year she organizes an “Earth Fair” for the entire student body which provides students a “hands on” experience with fossils, rocks, and minerals.

Sharon Milito is an exceptional teacher and an outstanding example of those dedicated educators who make a significant and positive impact on our children. It is to people like Sharon that we owe our gratitude for developing young minds and planting the seed for an interest and appreciation of geology. She represents the best of those who teach earth science and is a very deserving educator worthy to be presented the RMAG’s 2010 Teacher of the Year Award.