Paul Podraza, Resource Teacher for the Osceola School District’s STEM Mobile Lab, has been selected for the fifth annual national PBS Digital Innovators Program amongst educators from across the country.

The program recognizes classroom changemakers: educators who skillfully approach education with a bold and fresh perspective, and those who integrate digital media and resources into their classrooms in a way that sparks a love of learning for their students. A panel of esteemed judges selected Mr. Podraza and the other 51 PBS Digital Innovators, representing each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Podraza’s one-of-a-kind classroom is a 45-foot Mobile STEM Lab that travels across Osceola County to serve fifth graders in the district’s 27 Title I elementary/K-8 schools in order to connect students to the future and expose them to high-demand, high-wage jobs in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In their lab experience, students spend 90 minutes engaged in hands-on, problem-based activities centered around a hurricane scenario by using technology, such as tablets, microscopes, thermometers, multi-meters, and other instruments in order to finish their challenge.

“I am honored and humbled to be named the 2017 PBS Digital Innovator for the state of Florida, but this award truly represents what happens in our district when many departments come together aligned towards a common goal.

Together, we created an exceptional and innovative program that impacts over 3,000 fifth graders and over 150 educators each year,” said Mr. Podraza. “The national recognition we are receiving affirms the level of excellence in education that we can create for all students in Osceola County as we unite under the mission, ‘Inspiring all learners to reach their highest potential as responsible, productive citizens.’ The Mobile STEM Lab impacts many students and teachers each year, giving them a vision of what could be for the future, and I am very grateful to get to be a part of it.”