Unionville High biology teacher gets state award

 Sandra Litvin recognized for contributions inside and outside classroom

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Sandra Litvin, shown at the Chester County SPCA's Forget-Me-Not gala on Sunday, was selected

Sandra Litvin, a Unionville High biology teacher photographed at the Chester County SPCA’s Forget-Me-Not gala on Sunday, was named the 2013 Pennsylvania Outstanding Biology Teacher.

A Unionville High biology teacher said she was shocked and thrilled when she learned last week that she had received the 2013 Pennsylvania Outstanding Biology Teacher Award.

“I never thought I would get it get,” said Sandra Litvin, adding that she was stunned when she received the news through an email. “I’m very happy to have been chosen; it’s a great honor.”

The award, given by National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), in conjunction with Prentice Hall and the Duquesne University Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, has been given annually since 1961 to a teacher from each state, U.S. possessions, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Canada who has made valuable contributions to the profession as well as to students.  Criteria for the award include teaching ability, experience, inventiveness, initiative, and community impact, a NATB news release said.

“Unionville High School should be grateful and proud of the efforts of this gifted, innovative, and dedicated master educator,” said Mark Krotec, state director of NABT.  “Sandra Litvin’s commitment to science and science education has resulted in impressive student-based instruction and the establishment of powerful community educational relationships.  She has successfully managed to lead her science department and surrounding educational area to adopt novel student-centered activities both in and outside of the classroom.”

Krotec said glowing tributes from Litvin’s students and colleagues revealed great admiration of her work ethic, creativity, and a sincere desire to reach all of her students.  “Clearly, she continues to have a profound impact on hundreds of students, as well as her professional colleagues,” said Krotec.  “She is truly deserving of the Outstanding Biology Educator Award.”

Litvin received her bachelor’s of science degree from West Chester University and her master’s in education from Gratz College.   She began her career in education at Avon Grove High School, where she taught from 1994 to 2005. She has worked at Unionville High since 2006, where she teaches Advanced Placement Biology and Biology I and serves as the Science Research Activities Coordinator. She has been a participant in numerous educational workshops, including the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Science Teachers Association, the College Board, and the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association.

In addition to her activism in the classroom, she has served as a member/contributor to various organizations, including S.A.V.E., the Brandywine Valley Association, the Nature Conservancy, and the Stroud Water Research Center.

Litvin said she is excited about traveling with her husband, Bill Litvin, to the 2013 NABT convention this summer in Atlanta, Ga. There, she will be presented with her award plaque, a complimentary year’s membership in NABT, a cash award from the Duquesne University Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, and additional gifts from various Science Education companies.

She is already musing about possible purchases with the cash award, which “will definitely” be used for scientific supplies, she said. A new microscope, perhaps?





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