My Name Is... Matt Thomas

Science teacher at Alameda International Jr./Sr. High School

Joseph Rios
jrios@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/15/20

About me I’ve always loved to help kids. When I was going to college at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, I worked at the Boys & Girls Club. The kids liked me, and I liked all the …

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My Name Is... Matt Thomas

Science teacher at Alameda International Jr./Sr. High School

Posted

About me

I’ve always loved to help kids. When I was going to college at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, I worked at the Boys & Girls Club.

The kids liked me, and I liked all the programs they were doing. I felt like I belonged there, and it was the same kind of thing with science. I always loved science. I remember finding myself reading an earth science textbook, and I was like wait a second, this might be it.

I just started my 15th year of teaching at Alameda International Jr./Sr. High School where I teach an eighth-grade science class, but I usually teach sophomores earth science.

In a normal year, I would take my students out for field trips to experience Colorado geology, and the school is good at that as far as supporting those experiences. When I taught high school science, I would take my students to Colorado School of Mines to tour the school’s campus, visit their labs and to get to participate in lab investigations that teach techniques used in geology, hydrology and other earth sciences.

My big field trip before COVID-19 was taking 150 sophomores to Dinosaur Ridge. Dinosaur Ridge is world famous for its dinosaur foot prints, and there is a particular area there where footprints from Dinosaur Ridge make a pathway near Alameda Parkway. Alameda is obviously the name of our school, and the word translates to pathway which is a good name for a school because it’s a pathway for your future. But it’s neat because there’s a pathway to ancient life that existed on our planet that was also using a pathway. To me that’s a really neat connection being that it’s off Alameda Parkway. Dinosaur Ridge is a neat place that will be changing for the better.

Teacher of the Year

I was one of two teachers in the state to receive the Earth Science Teacher of the Year Award through the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (RMAG) and the RMAG Foundation.

Staff from Alameda International Jr./Sr. High School wrote letters recommending me for the award which was super amazing. It’s pretty neat to get an award that is not just recognition from industry professionals. The RMAG Foundation designates a $1,000 cash award to each award-winning teacher’s earth science program. I used the award to buy GoPro cameras so that I can take my students on virtual field trips.

Next gen of lacrosse players

When I was in college, I played lacrosse, and I recently coached the sport at Englewood High School. It was an awesome experience, and we turned that program around. We’re talking about the team not winning a game or maybe winning a game to where we won two conference championships alone. The stars aligned.

My daughter is turning nine, and she loves to play lacrosse. She likes me to be her coach, and I couldn’t justify continuing to coach at Englewood High School when my daughter needs me.

In-person learning

It’s been comforting to hear and see what our school’s administration has been doing to make sure we’re safe for in-person classes. With all the things we have in place with the improved air filter system in our building, the spacing and masks, it’s been reassuring to think we’ll be safe. I hope it works out, and we can all be safe and be in-person as long as possible.

If you have a suggestion for someone to interview for My Name Is... contact Joseph Rios at jrios@coloradocommunitymedia.com

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