DANBURY, Conn. — In the eight years since stepping into his role as the head of STEM curriculum for the Danbury schools, Harry Rosvally has made it his mission to create programs that support teachers and encourage students to explore all that science has to offer – from designing inventions to researching complex science theories.
As a result of his dedication, Rosvally has been named this year’s recipient of the Connecticut Science Educator Fellow Award from the Connecticut Science Teachers Association. The award will be presented Wednesday in New Haven.
An educator for more than 25 years, Rosvally oversees math and science curriculum revision for all of the Danbury schools. He also manages several grants that offer opportunities not only for student growth, but also for teacher professional development.
“I continue to provide opportunities for professional development for the teachers,” Rosvally said. “It improves their own expertise in their teaching, and their enthusiasm is infectious and they help their colleagues. It filters back to the students. They are getting top-quality science education with improved alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards.”
The changes at the high school level were implemented in 2010 and at the middle schools in 2011, and started with creating a more homogenous curriculum – students are all engaged in similar learning, activities, and unit assessments. Danbury High School eliminated “tracking” so that students are now all engaged in college-preparatory or honors courses.
“They all have the opportunity to go on for advanced studies, whether immediately after high school or at a later time,” Rosvally said. “They need to learn to learn.”
To prove the success of Rosvally’s leadership, the district has for the past several years held an Invention Convention that includes all three middle schools and seven elementary schools. Last year, nine Danbury students were recognized as inventors at the state level.
Students have also been successful at the annual Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair. Last year eight of ten students, from the Westside Middle School Academy, who were selected as finalists at the district competition were also selected as finalists at the state level, making it the most successful middle school in the state.
This year, at the CSEF, a DHS student was selected as a finalist in the life science category and two seventh-graders and two eighth-graders from WSMSA were selected as finalists.
Rosvally said the Invention Convention has sparked an interest in many of the students. It has grown over the years from 40 students to more than 400.
“That’s one of the things I’m really proud of,” he said. “It’s in more than half of our elementary schools. This is exciting for kids to be inventors, to be engineers.”
Rosvally earned an educational doctorate in educational administration from Teachers College, where he also earned a master’s degree. He also earned an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech.
He is a member of several state science organizations, including the Connecticut Science Supervisors Association and Connecticut Science Teachers Association, and he is the statewide science coordinator for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.