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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

School Board Recognitions
March 15, 2016

6. Student, Employee and Public Awards and Recognitions
2016 Edward C. Roy Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching

There is no question about it. You have to be a really great teacher to make rocks exciting. This evening, the School Board is pleased to recognize an outstanding teacher who was just named best in her field—not only in Virginia; but across the United States. Let’s meet the 2016 award recipient of the Edward C. Roy Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching: Dianna McDowell, Earth Science Teacher at Kemps Landing/Old Donation School. This award is presented each year by the American Geosciences Institute to recognize one teacher of grades K-8 for his or her leadership and innovation in Earth science education. Whether it’s its hiding pieces of evidence around the school yard to teach students about “continental drift” or cultivating partnerships with PBS to land her students in a meteorology episode called Sky Girls that was jointly produced with NASA, or collaborating with other grade levels on a Mars Rover project—it’s no longer just “rocks” that one is studying in Ms. McDowell’s class. She cultivates students’ love for Earth science by creating fun inquiry-based, hands-on experiences. Who knew that third grade students would find composting exciting as they learn about sustainability? Or, who knew that eighth-grade students would be eager to mentor second-grade students in a lesson about the Earth’s change over time while integrating technology using the Earthview app? She also consistently reaches out beyond school to make herself a better teacher and provide a richer learning environment for students. In 2015, she was one of only 13 pairs of teachers accepted to a Sustainability Teacher Academy at Arizona State University. In the fall, she led a group of 7th grade students on a week-long immersive trip in the Smokey Mountains. Later, she presented at the Virginia Association for the Gifted Conference. She also worked with the architects and engineers on the plans for the new school, which will incorporate unique components from Virginia’s geologic history. Regardless of her countless, innovative endeavors, the one that matters most to her is teaching students.

Please join me in honoring this outstanding Earth science educator, Dianna McDowell from Kemp Landing/Old Donation School!

Last Modified on Monday, April 23, 2018