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Public Health Teachers of the Year Named for Hands-on, Remote Learning Using Enhanced Science Curriculum

Published on Monday, February 22, 2021 | 10:42 am
Public Health Teachers of the Year. (left to right) Danny Woo of San Jose Charter Academy; Geri Varela of Cherrylee Elementary School; and Giselle Argüello of San Jose Charter Academy
  • Three teachers in San Gabriel Valley schools received the distinct recognition
  • Recognized educators used citizen science or enhanced science curriculum to develop students’ scientific thinking
  • Mosquito G.R.I.D., a citizen science project by region’s mosquito control agency, was a key resource

The San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District’s EcoHealth Vector Education program named three teachers as this past year’s Public Health Teachers of the Year:

Giselle Argüello, San Jose Charter Academy

Geri Varela, Cherrylee Elementary

Danny Woo, San Jose Charter Academy.

The teachers participated in the citizen science project Operation Mosquito G.R.I.D. (Growth Reduction and Increased Detection) or brought the standards-focused EcoHealth programs into the virtual classroom.

The awarded teachers recognized the value of enhancing science curriculum for remote learning and promoting public health, in light of the current pandemic.

“As a teacher it has been challenging…It does not compare to the challenges students have faced,” said Argüello, a teacher of nine years. “I am witnessing challenges that students have always faced but now at a heightened level and at a much larger capacity.”

“Hands-on activities are a huge part of science learning,” said Woo, who has been teaching for 19 years. “Not every student has access to at-home materials.”

Argüello, Varela and Woo note the limited resources available to students when pivoting to remote learning in a pandemic-driven landscape of fast-changing requirements.

They found their answer in EcoHealth’s online classroom visits or the newest citizen science program, Operation Mosquito G.R.I.D.

Mosquito G.R.I.D. students are able to participate safely from home. The project provides all the equipment and instruction, and material pick-up is safe and easy.

“My students benefited greatly from Operation Mosquito G.R.I.D.!” said Woo. “We are always looking for ways to increase their scientific agency…they were able to apply the scientific process to a task that was helpful to their community.”

In addition to Operation Mosquito G.R.I.D., EcoHealth Vector Education provides in-person and online classroom visits to bug out with students from K-12 grades.

Varela, a teacher at Cherrylee Elementary School with 37 years of teaching experience, has requested EcoHealth programs annually for students at her school for more than ten years. She continued that tradition in 2020 with the Virtual EcoHealth presentations.

“The classroom programs and citizen science program are a fantastic opportunity for all students to experience the importance of being aware of insects and other animals,” said Varela. “Each grade level gets their specific science standard met.”

EcoHealth Vector Education programs are in high demand year-round. EcoHealth uses One Health concepts and invites students to think like scientists and positively impact their communities.

Educators, librarians, and administrators can book an EcoHealth Vector Education virtual presentation or citizen science program at

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