Teachers in the Coweta County School System are no strangers to receiving a variety of awards. The most recent was East Coweta Middle School engineering and technology teacher Blaire Booth who received a Program Excellence award from the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) at the organization’s March 7 annual conference in Columbus, Ohio.
School system spokesman Dean Jackson in commenting on the award said ITEEA recognized Booth and the Technology Education program at East Coweta Middle School with the honor.
“The Program Excellence award recognizes outstanding school programs that emphasize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and that benefit students in all areas of education. Booth’s technology program at East Coweta Middle School was recognized as one of only 29 programs worldwide to earn the prestigious award,” Jackson said.
For Booth, the award had more than one significance.
“Receiving the award was very special to me because Mr. Steve Price presented me with the award. Mr. Price is not only the ITEEA president, but he is also my high school teacher who inspired me to become an engineering and technology education teacher,” Booth said. “In 10th grade I walked into the technology lab at Riverdale High School and found my passion for teaching through Mr. Price’s classes. Mr. Price has continued to be my mentor throughout college and my teaching career. Being presented with this award and having him there to share it with me is one of the greatest honors I could have ever received.”
Jackson said Booth has served as an engineering and technology teacher at East Coweta Middle since 2007. A graduate of Georgia Southern University, Valley City State University and Valdosta State University, Booth is the past-president of the Georgia Engineering and Technology Educator’s Association. When she was elected to the position by her statewide peers in 2010, she was the youngest person to ever hold that post, Jackson noted.
Sponsored by ITEEA and Paxton/Patterson, the Program Excellence Award is one of the highest honors given to technology education classroom teachers on the elementary, middle or high school levels. It is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession and students.
Each year the Program Excellence winners are recognized at the ITEEA conference, the largest such gathering for technology educators in the world.
Booth’s technology education program at East Coweta is a STEM-based program that applies activities to several academic standards within the school’s curriculum.
“I try to reinforce what they learn in other classes, as well as get them interested in hands-on learning through technology. The more technology we can put in students’ hands to teach them, the more successful they will be,” Booth explained.
The program’s technology curriculum ranges from the basics of math, science and engineering including the basics of engineering bridges and catapults in 6th grade, to the engineering design process such as designing, creating and testing board games for math and social studies in 7th grade, to focusing on how technological systems work in roller coasters and rockets in 8th grade.
“My goal is to give them as many real-world skills and technology applications as possible, as well as to develop critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills,” said Booth.