As a teacher, Mrs. Valkanas has had many accomplishments. She started the Gifted Program at Bateman with 5/6 grade Gifted Science. She has worked with NASA to develop science curriculum to benefit all grade levels. She has been a presenter at the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) conference and CPS schools. She lobbied in Springfield on several occasions for funding to support science education.
Mrs. Valkanas’ student’s work has been featured in museums including the Peggy Notebaert Museum and the Adler Planetarium where kids participated in the Mars Millennium Project. For the Project, students built a model of the first colony on Mars. In addition, for participating in the Mars Millennium Project, her students’ names were sent on a spaceship that landed on Mars.
She organized Bateman’s 1st Star Party where Bateman students were the first ever to remotely control telescopes at the Yerkes Observatory in William’s Bay, Wisconsin. William’s Bay newspaper wrote about Bateman and this inspired a local reader to donate a 2nd telescope to the observatory.
In 2008, she became a fellow of Project Exploration at the University of Chicago and worked with Dr. Paul Sereno digging up a 65,000,000 year old Hadrosaur. Currently, Mrs. Valkanas is involved in a STEM project at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
She has served Bateman in many capacities. Every spring you can see the many tulips and daffodils she planted with every student in the school. She served as a teacher representative on the LSC for over 6 years. She was part of the Beautification Committee. She has also been a member of the PTA, Wellness Committee, and has been a core member of the Science Committee. She has coordinated the annual Bateman Science Fair for 20 years. For the last 4 years, she sponsored the You Be The Chemist (YBTC) after school program. This past February, the students of the YBTC program placed 3rd in the competition held at North Park University. In the spring Mrs. Valkanas directs the annual Bateman Talent Show, showcasing all the talented students of Bateman. With all the many interesting things she’ has done, Mrs. Valkanas’ heart is with Bateman.