Conniston Middle School International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Science teacher Stephanie Killingsworth’s lessons extend well beyond her classroom, the school campus, and even national borders. These lessons, and a dedication to her students that knows no boundaries, are what earned Ms. Killingsworth the honor of being named the School District of Palm Beach County’s Teacher of the Week. Ms. Killingsworth was nominated for the award by the parents of one of her students, who had nothing but high praise for her dedication both inside and outside of the classroom.
“Your love goes beyond the classroom…” they shared. “For the last two years, we have watched our daughter feel so excited about science and its relevance to our world. You’ve taken kids from CMS to India for 10 days over the summer, shark tagging with the ANGARI Foundation…even taking students who have already gone on to high school. We love that you are so committed to their learning. We are so thankful that our next two kids will have you…you are phenomenal!”
In case you’re wondering, you did read that correctly; Ms. Killingsworth has traveled to India with students during the summer months as part of Conniston’s most recent I.B. service project, Water for India. During the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years, her students dedicated their studies to not only learning more about the culture of India, but to bringing clean drinking water, sound infrastructures, sanitation, and wells to rural parts of the country for an organization called Water for People.
The initiative allowed students to step outside of their comfort zones and engage in real-world problem solving, culminating in summer trips to the South Asian country to engage in hands-on learning. In June 2017, 20 students traveled across the world to reflect on their learning and collaborate with a group of Indian students in Agra.
“I want them [the students] to experience learning through other forms, not just the traditional four walls, beyond the classroom,” Ms. Killingsworth shares. “I took a group to India this past summer as part of an I.B. service and learning project that we did…it was life-changing, I think, for not only for myself, but also the students. I’ve got a group going to the Galapagos this summer with me, and another group that’s heading over to Spain in March…[I’m] just trying to get them experiences outside. From shark tagging to cleaning the park next door, whatever it might be.”
As the District’s Teacher of the Week, Ms. Killingsworth received a dozen donuts, balloons, flowers and a $25 gift card donated by ValuTeachers. As a #ThankATeacherPBC Teacher of the Week award winner, she’ll also be nominated for National Life Group’s LifeChanger of the Year award, which is given annually to teachers and other School District personnel who make a significant difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence, and leadership.
Your favorite teacher could be our next award winner! Nominating a teacher for the Teacher of the Week award is easy — visit the Thank a Teacher website at www.palmbeachschools.org/thankateacher and submit your message of gratitude.
Business leaders are encouraged to visit the site to get information on offering discounts to teachers, sponsoring events at schools, or signing up to become a District business partner. The #ThankATeacherPBC prize patrol will surprise and honor a different Palm Beach County teacher each week.
Click play below to learn more about Ms. Killingsworth’s efforts in bringing a real-world, international education to her students. To learn more about Conniston’s International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, please click here.