Clarion Cleveland High School Portland, OR
Issue Date: Thursday, May 17, 2012 Issue: June 4th, 2012 Last Update: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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Clarion

At-a-glance

A man of amplitude: Physics teacher Robert Schlichting is one of three finalists for a prestigious science teaching award
Robert Schlicting helps Lissie Parr (left) and Sarah Menashe in his physics class. Charli Ann Delp photo. -
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Cleveland physics teacher Robert Schlicting is one of three Oregon science teachers nominated for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which recognizes exemplary teachers (kindergarten through 12th grade) for their contributions to their field.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching were created in 1983 by an Act of Congress and are administered by the National Science Foundation. Every year the top math and science teachers from each state are honored.

The Portland Public School’s science curriculum specialist, Susan Montag, nominated Schlicting last year citing his work with students and with his colleagues throughout the district to improve both content and practice in high school science. Montag, in an email to the Clarion, also referenced “the fact that he is always upgrading his skills through his work with the geology department at PSU,” as a reason for the nomination.

“The Cleveland staff and community are very proud of Robert’s [achievement],” said Principal Paul Cook.

Cook notes that Schlicting’s nomination “is a reflection of his extra efforts in curriculum, planning and connecting with students.”

“I was very flattered to be nominated, I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’” said Schlicting.

Schlicting has taught at Cleveland for five years. He instructs three levels of physics and is working with a group of five students independently studying the melting of glaciers.

“He knows a lot about the whole field [of glaciers] and has done a lot of work with PSU in the past few years,” said senior Will Niemann-Ross. “He shows a real interest in what he does. It feels like he’s really motivated to teach us.”

Schlicting learned in July that he was one of three Oregon science teachers that were chosen as finalists, and will be informed of the final decision in March. He insists that if he were to win, “I would be shocked. Completely shocked.”

Winners of the Presidential Awards are given $10,000 from the National Science Foundation and will attend a week-long series of receptions and seminars for their fields in Washington D.C.

Schlicting jokes that he is not focused on the outcome saying, “I’m trying not to think about it too much, I don’t want to be crushed when the rejection letter comes.”

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