Teacher Recognition Program - Sister Martina Rockers Excellence in Teaching Award

The Sister Martina Rockers Excellence in Teaching Award (SMETA) sponsored by Ken-A-Vision is designed to recognize teachers in grades 9-12 meeting the following qualifications. The award of $1000 and a plaque is given annually by Science Pioneers at the annual Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair awards ceremony.

Applications will be screened by a committee of at least 5 people to include, but not be limited to, a representative from Ken-A-Vision, the previous year’s winner (if available), a 9-12 grade administrator. Sister Martina will also serve on the committee as long as she is willing to and able to attend. Science Pioneers will select the remainder of the committee, with approval from Ken-A-Vision.


  • Must have taught for at least 15 years (not necessarily continuously) in a 9-12 grade Science, Mathematics or Computer Science classroom preferably within the same school or school system. (System here defined to include school district, diocesan or parochial/private unit.- e.g. could be multiple Catholic, Jewish, or charter schools authorized by the same higher educational unit in area.) (Dedicated teachers become part of a system and help it grow while they grow with it.)
  • A SMETA professional demonstrates a high level of concern for students. Highest concern is for the success, acquisition, and application of study and learning skills, more so then absolute mastery of subject matter. SMETA teachers know their students outside the classroom, not only inside the room. (The most common remark made by former students of Sister Martina was that she knew who they were.)
  • A SMETA teacher strives to increase student awareness of the science, mathematics, or technological applications in the environment around them. Teaching will commonly include demonstration and experiencing science outside the classroom or even the school building. (Let students see science in their world, not just in the textbook and classroom.)
  • A teacher deserving of the SMETA award demonstrates concern for maintaining their professional growth and development. This should include, but is not limited to:
    • Attendance at and occasional participation in conferences, workshops at state, regional and national meetings. (Needs to be an active, engaged professional sharing their knowledge and skills with others – and learning from others.)
    • Analyzes and reviews class curricula often, including lecture/presentations, laboratories and demonstrations by practicing good Scholarship of Teaching in maintaining courses current, exciting and best suited for the current student.
      (Uses observers, evaluations and other monitors of their own teaching.)
    • Uses and applies current and new technologies in their teaching. (Even in her 70’s, Sister Martina was still attending workshops on new technologies in teaching.)
    • Demonstrates and implements creative techniques and methodologies for assessing and evaluating student work product. (There are many ways to assess students other then pure tests, though these are also useful.)

Nomination process:

  • The teacher or another person with knowledge of nominee’s qualifications may complete the nomination form.
  • The nomination form is due January 20, 2012. The application form will be mailed or faxed to the candidate.
  • Send the nomination form to Science Pioneers at 30 W. Pershing, Ste. 410, Kansas City, MO 64108 or fax 816-460-2264.
  • The completed application form must be received by February 17, 2012.
  • If you have questions, please call Betty Paulsell at 816-460-2262 or email at bpaulsell@sciencepioneers.org.