Florida Educator Wins Scholarship
A Florida educator with a passion for space has been awarded a new Space Foundation scholarship, the Dr. Catherine Pedretty Space Scholarship for Teachers. Robin Little, a Safety Harbor (Fla.) Elementary School teacher, plans to use the scholarship to attend the PreK-2 Early Childhood Space Exploration course that starts the week of June 13 at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute in Colorado Springs.
She wrote in her application: "It is very easy for teachers of young children to teach an oversimplified view of space exploration. However, I know from firsthand experience, that if presented correctly, young children will thrive on learning factual information about space and will make it their own through play."
The new scholarship was established by the Space Foundation in late 2010, to create special professional development opportunities for teachers currently teaching in the Pinellas County (Fla.) Schools. Funding for the Dr. Catherine Pedretty Space Scholarship for Teachers is provided by her daughter, Janet Stevens of Colorado Springs, Colo., who is the vice president - marketing and communications for the Space Foundation.
Safety Harbor Elementary School Principal Robert Kalach wrote in his letter of recommendation that Little has "...demonstrated her desire to acquire and share new knowledge through her work as a magnet coordinator and curriculum development trainer. Robin has most recently worked collaboratively with the University of South Florida College of Engineering, Kennedy Space Center Education Resource Center and the Lexington Five School District of South Carolina. During her work with these collaborative partnerships, Robin has been on the cutting edge of creating developmentally appropriate curriculum and training teachers of students pre-kindergarten through fifth grade."
About the Scholarship
The Dr. Catherine Pedretty Space Scholarship for Teachers provides a unique opportunity for the selected teacher to travel to Colorado Springs and participate in one of the Space Foundation's summer Space Across the Curriculum courses. The scholarship provides a spending allowance for travel, meal, lodging expenses and full tuition and fees for the selected teacher to attend any one of the Space Foundation's weeklong courses. The courses cover topics ranging from rocketry, robotics and astronomy to living and working in space, and are designed to help teachers use space themes in their classrooms to improve student performance in literacy, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and other subject areas. The teacher may elect to receive continuing education or graduate academic credit for the course; graduate credit may be applied toward one of several master's degrees offered through the Space Foundation and partner universities.
To learn about Space Across the Curriculm classes or apply for other scholarships, click here.
About Dr. Catherine Pedretty
An avowed lifetime learner, Dr. Pedretty worked as a teacher and guidance counselor in Pinellas County Schools for 38 years and was director of guidance for Dunedin High School at the time of her retirement. Born Catherine Fraiser Partain in 1928 in Birmingham, Ala., Dr. Pedretty grew up in Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tenn. She majored in French and Spanish at the University of Tennessee, graduating with honors in 1949, the same year she married William L. Pedretty, who had just completed his degree in electrical engineering. She became a housewife and moved with her husband to North Carolina, Texas and then to Florida.
While their four children were still young, Dr. Pedretty began working in a non-teaching job for the Pinellas County School System. She soon returned to school for her teaching certification and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. in education from Florida State University. Her favorite position was as a guidance counselor where she specialized in helping students get accepted into difficult programs and in finding scholarships for them. She was most proud of the numerous times she helped young women pursue careers in engineering and science and in the role she played in getting her students accepted into the nation's military academies. Dr. Pedretty died in 2010 of pancreatic cancer.
Pictured: Robin Little