Craig Coopersmith, a two-time Saginaw Valley State University alumnus and an adjunct instructor of chemistry, has been named Carrollton High School's Teacher of the Year for the 2017-18 school year. Coopersmith will be honored with a plaque as well as funding for classroom supplies.
Tim Wilson, superintendent of Carrollton Public Schools, chose Coopersmith for the honor.
“In the classroom, he creates unique learning experiences for his students,” Wilson said.
“He also creates many hands-on projects — both inside and outside the classroom — that engage students deeply in the learning process. He has revived our greenhouse and students are excited about it. He's enthusiastic about teaching and his enthusiasm is contagious. He cares for kids and he helps them to succeed. He is respected by both students and staff for his dedication to teaching and helping our students learn about science.”
Coopersmith completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SVSU; he also completed the Dow Corning Foundation/SVSU Community STEM Partnership program. He first participated in the program during the 2015-16 academic year, when he and his students studied how pollutants enter the region’s watershed.
Coopersmith has a unique way of connecting with and motivating his students to get involved. When interviewed about his involvement in the watershed project as part of the Dow Corning Foundation initiative, he explained that he wants each student to take ownership of their work on the projects they are involved in.
"I think the best way to teach them science is to let them experience it," Coopersmith said.
Practicing what he preaches, Coopersmith has served as a teacher in SVSU’s Dow Science and Sustainability Education Center Summer Research Program for four years. The program focuses on collaborative partnerships between high school students, teachers, SVSU students and faculty. The projects are chosen based on needs in the community.
Coopersmith said his K-12 students have gained academic advantages through other resources available at SVSU, including the Arnold and Gertrude Boutell Greenhouse, and Saginaw Bay Environmental Science Institute, along with the university’s scholarship opportunities and STEM-based camps.
“My students have benefitted greatly through these experiential learning opportunities,” he said.
For more information about programs in science, technology, engineering and math at SVSU, visit http://www.svsu.edu/stem/.