Teaching is incredibly demanding and increasingly constrained by testing and mandates. It takes particular creativity, motivation, and effort for teachers to go “off script” and take their students outside the classroom.
Honoring those teachers who are going above and beyond to make a lasting difference for their students, our communities, and the planet has never been more important. Our Patsy Collins Award for Excellence in Education, Environment, and Community seeks to do that by recognizing three teachers every year who connect classroom learning to their students’ communities.
And what we hear from recipients is that the recognition matters. Below is a collection of testimonials from past awardees about what the award has meant to them, their teaching, and their students.
If you are moved by the powerful stories below, please consider nominating a teacher today (deadline for teachers to apply is June 30, 2019). Together, we can show our appreciation for those teachers in Washington state who extend learning beyond the classroom to deepen student understanding and stewardship.
“I had decided to leave teaching…[the award] helped give me the courage to go back.” – Kimberly Schulze, ’17 Patsy Collins Award Recipient
“The Patsy Collins Award came at an interesting time for my life and my career. I received the award at a time when my love for education continued to rise but my participation in the educational system had found its limit. In fact, I had decided to leave teaching.
Receiving the Patsy Collins Award was at once one of the most gratifying and difficult things to happen to me. It worked to lift me up…it helped give me the courage to go back into the classroom, a place where I can be both a learner and a facilitator of learning.
I am now at a new school completing my first year as a physics and math teacher. Next year, I will teach physics and robotics, helping to advance STEAM education in my school. And I hope to work on spreading some environmental activism to my new school community.
The award helped me find time and confidence to move forward in education again…it has shown me that somebody recognizes and appreciates the care and effort I have put into my community.”
“Since receiving the award I’m more committed to help students see the joint role in observing and taking care of the planet.” – Jessica Levine, ’16 Patsy Collins Award Recipient
“When I received the Patsy Collins award, I had just returned from a trip of a lifetime to volunteer with my lifelong hero, Jane Goodall, in the Roots and Shoots environmental education program in Tanzania. With funds from the Patsy Collins Award, I shared this special experience in a public earth day talk called Following her Footsteps. Inspired by the three female scientists, known as the trimates, who studied the great ape primates, I am using Patsy Collins Award funds this summer to visit the Orangutans of Borneo.
Since receiving the Patsy Collins award I’m more committed to integrate art and science and help students see the joint role in observing and taking care of the planet. I worked with water color artist Clarie Giordano to show students how to conserve water resources and create art to visualize their water use observational data on a project inspired by Dear Data.
As an experiential educator, I’m honored to uphold this legacy.”
“I am departing for the Arctic Circle next week as a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow.” – Jennie Warmouth, ’18 Patsy Collins Award Recipient
“I am so grateful for my 2018 Patsy Collins Award and I wanted to share with you that I am departing for the Arctic Circle next week as a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow!
I will be joining 13 scientists, underwater experts, National Geographic photographers and a STEM teacher from Los Angeles (Mindy Steele) on board Lindblad Expedition’s National Geographic Explorer. We will be traveling to Arctic Svalbard: Land of the Polar Bears!
I have been able to use some of my Patsy Collins resources to purchase Arctic gear for my expedition and STEM materials for my students (such as Virtual Reality googles for my students to view my 360 degree Arctic footage). I’ve built a website to host the visual media I’ll be collecting on expedition: www.globalwarmouth …. and my students’ questions will drive my investigations in the field.
I’ll be on the expedition for just shy of two weeks before returning to my classroom to finish the school year. I will remain in partnership with Nat Geo for two years as a teacher fellow — contributing to educational content and developing environmental outreach projects for my own students in the Pacific Northwest. My students’ research findings will be published on the Woodland Park Zoo’s website.
Thank you again for your support!”
“I do hope to honor [Patsy Collins’s] legacy with purposeful actions and the voice of many young environmental stewards and change agents.” – Elizabeth Wing, ’18 Patsy Collins Award Recipient
“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the Patsy Collins Award for Excellence in Education, Environment, and Community. In addition…I am glad to know that there are other educators in our community who strive for opportunities to enhance student voice and environmental stewardship.
I know firsthand how challenging teaching can be. Teaching is exciting and thrilling. Every day I head to school prepared to do my best and many days I feel as though I am on a comedy improv stage. Kids are clever, hardworking and they love to share their learning. They are also a tad cheeky and they make me laugh! However, teaching is also daunting at times. There are never enough hours to learn and prepare opportunities to meet the needs of every child. Thus, the teaching profession can be physically and emotionally difficult. Every year as a staff we talk about how we are going to take care of ourselves and one another and many times we fail. I am choosing to use award money to fund a yin yoga instructor to come to our school once a week and work with teachers and staff members to practice mindfulness, learn to invest in ourselves and relax our tense muscles and minds.
I want to thank everyone involved in this treasured award. I have researched Patsy Collin’s inspirational insight and impact her choices and actions created within her community. I would never dare to compare myself with such a progressive thinker and leader, but I do hope to honor her legacy with purposeful actions and the voice of many young environmental stewards and change agents in our Carnation community.
Just one last note…my class has been out on three different bird walks comparing different birding habitats in the Carnation area: forest, wetland and river. These are beautiful walking field trips directly from our school. Many parents and grandparents have joined the bird walks and students are coming to school with their own birding books and field journals. Many parents and grandparents are coming back to school and sharing their new birding applications on their phones. I am thrilled that our field studies are multi-generational!”