Education institute awards four teachers environmental honor

January 19, 2010

By Staff

The Pacific Education Institute awarded four Issaquah teachers Project Learning Tree Outstanding Environment and Sustainability Educator Awards at the Dec. 7 school board meeting.The teachers were recognized for their work in environmental studies, and their dedication and commitment to providing students with outdoor learning classrooms and service learning opportunities.

Sunny Hills Elementary School teacher Jane Ulrich and Endeavour Elementary School teachers Leslie Smith, Diane Parham and Gabrielle Herring were recognized for their long history of working with environment and sustainability education, creating engaging hands-on environmental stewardship opportunities for their students, and for extending their classroom walls to include the outdoor world.

Each involved their school communities in their projects, published articles and shared their successful lessons to support student achievement of state learning standards.

Ulrich developed a Millennium Garden of native plants and a forested path with viewing station on the Sunny Hills campus. Using scientific inquiry and observing twigs in late winter, Ulrich’s students provided data for a national data bank. The state superintendent’s office will include the lesson on its Environment and Sustainability Web site and it is published in the Pacific Education Institute’s Field Investigation Guide.

Smith, Parham and Herring developed the bioswale outdoor classroom at Endeavour and received King County’s Green Schools award for the restoration project.

By taking their teaching outdoors, students get to enjoy hands-on lessons, including frog lifecycles and habitat diversity, while their activities provide program and lesson models for other state science teachers.

Since 2003, the Pacific Education Institute has supported Washington state educators to deliver quality instruction in science, math and social studies, while integrating those lessons into environmental studies.

District and institute officials have enjoyed a long relationship and worked closely to support the district’s mission statement and end goals for students through powerful math and science instruction.

On the Web

www.windows.ucar.edu/citizen_ science/budburst

Source: Issaquah School District

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