Bookmobile to make summer stops at Penn Manor schools, neighborhoods, churches

Lancaster County’s library on wheels is coming to Penn Manor neighborhoods this summer.

The Lancaster County Bookmobile will make several stops at Penn Manor schools, neighbohoods and churches through the middle of August to encourage children to keep reading over the summer.

Stops will include Eshleman and Conestoga elementary schools, Pheasant Ridge, Manor Heights and Millersville Manor, and Pequea, Mt. Nebo and West Willow churches.

The first stops are Monday and Tuesday, June 10 and 11, at Conestoga and Eshleman schools.

The full summer schedule is here.

Registration is now open for new students for 2019-2020 school year

Registration is now under way for all new students entering Penn Manor schools for the 2019-2020 school year.

Parents can begin the registration process online here.

Parents will be asked to create an account or sign in to their existing account and select the grade level of their child. After completing and submitting the registration form, they will be directed to schedule an appointment to complete the registration process.

Please note that students will be assigned to schools based on their address and class size.

Penn Manor has an open registration system; however, registrations must be completed by Aug. 7 to assure that students have busing on the first day of school on Aug. 21.

417 members of Class of 2019 earn diplomas

Members of the Penn Manor Class of 2019 received their diplomas Tuesday night before family and friends during an upbeat graduation ceremony at Franklin & Marshall College.

In his address to the crowd, principal Dr. Phil Gale celebrated the many accomplishments of the 417 graduates, including state and national recognition in academics, technology, agriculture, the performing arts and athletics.

He pointed out that seniors will be receiving more than $2.5 million in academic awards and scholarships to continue their education. About 70 percent of graduates plan to further their studies, and about 20 percent will enter the workforce. Twelve students will be joining the armed forces, including Cole Shenk, who earned an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Shenk was one of six student speakers who addressed the crowd at commencement. The others were Derek Davis and Ryan Glenn, co-valedictorians; Sameeha Hossain, salutatorian; Jared Stephan, class president; and Erica Shaub.

Members of the Class of 2019 completed 77 college classes while enrolled at Penn Manor and took 502 advanced-placement exams in 24 different subjects. In addition, 73 seniors graduated from the honors program, 69 students graduated with a grade-point average of 4.0 or higher, and 61 seniors earned a GPA of 4.0 or higher and graduated with honors.

During the ceremony, David Kramer was named Student of the Year, as selected by the faculty. Dr. Gale honored the memory of Sean Moore, who passed away at the start of the school year, pointing out that he will always be a member of the Penn Manor Class of 2019.

The ceremony was the final one for Dr. Gale as principal. After working for 19 years at the high school, he has accepted the position of assistant superintendent for secondary education at Penn Manor.

The ceremony also honored members of the Penn Manor High School Class of 1969, many of whom were in attendance. One of them, Denise Morris Race, got to see her granddaughter, Paige Marie Ireland Miller, graduate exactly 50 years to the day that Denise received her diploma.

Congratulations to the 417 members of the Class of 2019, and best wishes as you embark on the next chapter of your lives!

  • Graduation speakers, principal and superintendent
    Graduation speakers with principal Dr. Phil Gale, left, and superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter.

Class of 2019 receives more than 200 local scholarships, awards

Penn Manor High School seniors got a boost to their post-high school plans when members of the Class of 2019 received 203 scholarships and awards totaling more than $110,000 during the Senior Awards Ceremony, held May 23.

The honors included $70,000 in scholarships awarded to 65 seniors through Penn Manor Education Foundation. Many thanks to the Penn Manor community members, organizations and businesses that contributed to all of these local awards.

The seniors also earned outside scholarships and financial aid to continue their education after graduation.

The top recipients of Penn Manor academic scholarships/awards were Sameeha Hossain and Jared Stephan, with seven awards each; Evan Lyon, with six awards; and Haide Sorial, with five awards.

Congratulations to all the seniors who earned awards, and best wishes on your future endeavors!

Here are the awards, listed alphabetically, by recipient.

Penn Manor seniors honored with athletic awards, scholarships

More than 60 Penn Manor High School student athletes were honored May 16 during the Senior Sports Awards Social in the high school cafeteria.

In all, more than 40 awards were presented, including Coach of the Year to Larry Bellew and Assistant Coach of the Year to John Terscha.

The top athletic awards went to:

  • Outstanding Penn Manor Male and Female Athletes — Anna Sugra, Emma DeBerdine, Hunter Enck and William “Billy” Briegel.
  • Penn Manor Coaches Association Scholarships — Anna Sugra, Riley Neuman, Aydan Hinkle, David Kramer, Jared Stephan, Ryan Glenn, Kyle Echterling and Shayna Warfel.

Here’s what their coaches had to say about the top award winners:

Anna Sugra is an outstanding swimmer and team leader. Her best events are the 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, and sprint freestyle. She won all but one individual event during the regular season and was the 2019 L-L League Champion in the 200-meter freestyle, with a time of 1:57.21. Anna will be attending Bloomsburg University in the fall.  

Emma DeBerdine is recognized as one of the best field hockey players in the country. She has been a perennial All-Star/All-State player, National All-American, National Player of the Year, Academic All-American and member of the U17-19 USA Field Hockey National Teams. Emma was the consummate team player/leader, on and off the field. She will attend the University of Maryland next year and join her sister, Brooke, on the Terrapins nationally ranked field hockey team.

Hunter Enck is a two-sport athlete who exceled in soccer and volleyball. In soccer, he was a two-time Lancaster-Lebanon League All-Star and a co-leader in goals scored his senior year. As team captain, he led by example and character. Hunter added volleyball to his repertoire his freshman year and quickly earned a place on the varsity squad. He earned First Team All-Star honors in the Section the last two years as the team’s libero. Hunter was a great ambassador, not only for the soccer and volleyball teams, but for Penn Manor School District as well.

Billy Briegel was a four-year starter for the lacrosse team. He started in 72 of a possible 73 games and was a three-time 1st Team All-League performer in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Over his career, Billy scooped up 324 ground balls and caused 152 turnovers. He was named an Academic All-American for the Central Pennsylvania Lacrosse Chapter. Billy’s leadership skills and work ethic will take him to wherever he wants to go.  Billy received a Division I lacrosse scholarship and will be attending the University of Hartford next year. 

Riley Neuman was a four-year starter on the lacrosse team. He was a two-time All-League performer during his career and was captain of the team as a senior. During Riley’s playing career, he scooped up 191 ground balls and caused 91 turnovers. His energy level and desire to compete at a high level made him stand out. Riley will be attending Temple University next year.

Aydan Hinkle was one of the top attackmen in lacrosse in the L-L League.  During his senior year, the team compiled a 7-3 record with Aydan in the lineup, and he scored 16 goals and had five assists. Aydan’s competitiveness is what made him stand out. He will be attending Penn State University next year. 

David Kramer is the sophomore and junior class record holder in the 800-meter dash and was a member of the school record-holding 4 x 400 team. He medaled in various events at invitational and league/district meets. David carries himself in a way that other athletes look up to. He is always where he needs to be when he needs to be there, competes with a drive to win and handles his wins and defeats with poise. David will continue his running career at West Chester University.

Jared Stephan was one of the hardest workers on the boys’ swim team. His best events were the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle, but Jared could swim any event and do well. He placed fourth at the L-L League meet in the 500 freestyle and was named to the L-L League Honor Roll by as part of the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay, with one of the top three times in those events. Jared will be swimming at Kings College next year.

Ryan Glenn was a member of the basketball and baseball teams. He was an L-L League First Team All-Star in baseball and was named to the All-Academic Team for basketball. He not only earned the respect of his teammates, but of other teams throughout the league with his play on the baseball diamond. Ryan has a 4.72 weighted GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, National High School Mock Trial and Grey Zone. He plans to attend Penn State University.

Kyle Echterling was a dedicated member of the boys’ swim team and was one of the most-improved swimmers in his senior year, which is difficult to accomplish. He qualified for the L-L League meet in the 200 freestyle and got a best time for his last swim of the season. Kyle always sought ways to improve his time and strokes during the season. He will be swimming at Lebanon Valley College in the fall.

Shayna Warfel was a four-year member (three years on varsity) of the volleyball team who played in 188 varsity sets and earned an L-L League First Team All-Star award. She had 486 kills and 316 digs in her playing career and led the team into league and district playoffs for the first time in five years. Shayna will continue her academic and athletic career at Bloomsburg University. 

See the full list of award winners here.

Six students to address Class of 2019 at June 4 commencement

    Six student speakers have been named for Penn Manor High School’s 2019 commencement, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, at Franklin & Marshall College Alumni Sports and Fitness Center.

    The speakers are Derek Davis and Ryan Glenn, co-valedictorians; Sameeha Hossain, salutatorian; Jared Stephan, senior class president; and Cole Shenk and Erica Shaub.

Ryan Glenn is the son of Richard and Lorena Glenn of Lancaster. He participated in National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Gray Zone, Student Ambassadors, Rocket Club, Mock Trial, TEAMS (Test of Engineering Aptitude, Math and Science) and Mathematics Club and was a member of the Penn Manor baseball and basketball teams. Ryan plans to study engineering at Penn State University.

Derek Davis is the son of Sharon and Ernie Davis of Lancaster. He participated in jazz band, Rocket Club, TEAMS (Test of Engineering Aptitude, Math and Science) and TSA (Technology Student Association) and was a member of the Penn Manor tennis and soccer teams. Derek plans to attend the University of Alabama and study aerospace engineering.

Cole Shenk is the son of Audrey and Thomas Shenk of Washington Boro. He participated in TSA (Technology Student Association), TEAMS (Test of Engineering Aptitude, Math and Science), Science National Honor Society, Mock Trial, Rocket Club and Student Council. He also was a class officer and a member of the Penn Manor soccer, wrestling and track and field teams. Cole plans to attend the U.S. Naval Adademy and study aerospace engineering.

Jared Stephan is the son of Laura and Scott Stephan of Millersville. He participated in MiniTHON, Scrubs Club, Varsity Club, Young Humanitarian League, and National Honor Society and was a class officer. Jared also was a member of the Penn Manor tennis, volleyball and swimming teams. He plans to attend King’s College and study to be a physician’s assistant.

Erica Shaub is the daughter of Michelle and Brian Shaub of Lancaster. She participated in the Young Humanitarian League, Varsity Club and chorus and was a member of the Penn Manor swimming and volleyball teams. Erica plans to study mathematics at the University of Colorado.

Sameeha Hossain is the daughter of Kazi Hossain and Sharmin Maswood of Millersville. She participated in Student Council, Serteen, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Young Humanitarian League, Scrubs Club, Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy and MiniTHON. She also played piano and clarinet in the Penn Manor band. Sameeha plans to major in biology/pre-med at Franklin & Marshall College.

Admission to commencement is by ticket only, nine per graduate. All seating, with the exception of a reserved section for the disabled and honored guests, will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission tickets will be distributed to graduates at the end of commencement practice, scheduled for 8 a.m. June 3 and 4 at Penn Manor High School.

The commencement ceremony will be webcast live, beginning at 6 p.m., on the district website, DVDs of commencement will be available for purchase here. Parking details are available here: F&M event parking

Baccalaureate is at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at Millersville Community Church, Hope Campus. Seniors may also participate in a “Senior Walk,” a procession through the halls in their caps and gowns at the elementary school they attended, on June 3 and 4, beginning at 12:45 p.m.

PLEASE NOTE: Commencement is a formal ceremony that marks an important event in each student’s life.  For this to occur, we need the cooperation of the Class of 2019 and each person in the audience. During presentation of diplomas, please refrain from cheering or making other noises that will make it difficult to hear student names.  Once all students have received their diplomas, attendees may celebrate.

  • Sameeha Hossain
    Sameeha Hossain

Seven Penn Manor students win awards in journalism contest

Congratulations to the seven Penn Manor elementary students who won awards in the LNP/Lancaster Online Journalism & Design an Ad Contest.

Students from Hambright, Eshleman and Central Manor received honors in the contest, which was open to all students in Lancaster County.

Here are the winners and their teachers:

Writer’s Choice, Third Grade – Morgan Milisock, first place; Mason Barnes, second place; and Amirah Santiago, third place, Hambright Elementary (teacher: Lorien Gilbert).

Writer’s Choice, Second Grade – Lillian Evans, first place, and Lily Quinn, second place, Eshleman Elementary (teacher: Beth Kaplan); Emma Layla Shea, third place, Central Manor Elementary (teacher: Shelly Kyle).

Illustrating Headlines, Kindergarten – Brayton Swartz, second place, Hambright Elementary (teacher: Maggie Kyper).

The winning students were recognized in the May 21 edition of LNP. That evening, first-place awardees and their teachers were honored at a reception.

  • Lillian Evans of Eshleman
    Lillian Evans of Eshleman

Penn Manor students celebrate their heritage through food

    Students at two Penn Manor schools recently celebrated their heritage with food.

    Penn Manor High School students got to share the foods of their native countries with fellow students, teachers and staff during the third annual Multicultural Day, held May 2 in the high school gymnasium.

    On May 9, Eshleman Elementary School held its World Food Fair, featuring foods from 17 different countries, including Bhutan, Eritrea, Brazil, Nicaragua, Nepal and Hungary.

   Students and their family members dressed in native garb and displayed maps, flags and other symbols of the countries they represented.

   The event was established 13 years ago to celebrate the cultures of Eshleman students and families and expose community members to traditional food and dress from around the world.

   For the high school event, students prepared foods from the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Nepal, Nigeria, Mexico and Puerto Rico to share with the school community. Several students donned traditional garb as part of the celebration.

    In order to sample the food, students and staff members had to learn to say a common phrase in the language of the country represented. In addition to preparing the foods, students created colorful displays about their countries and talked about some of the geographic features and traditions of their native lands.

    The event is the culminating project for the school’s Multicultural Club, which was established three years ago by Etsub Tolossa, a Penn Manor senior from Ethiopia. Club advisors are Penn Manor foreign language teachers Katharine Rodriguez and Nadine Smith.

   Etsub started the club “to provide a platform for students to share their backgrounds, their stories and their cultures, as well as to learn from each other and embrace their culture and heritage,” she said. 

    “America is a product of different countries and nations, and the club helps us teach others about the many cultures that we’re seeing in our classes and community.”

    About 325 Penn Manor School District students are from families that speak 24 different languages at home.

  • Multicultural Day at high school
    High school student Etsub Tolossa dishes out Ethiopian food at Multicultural Day.

Penn Manor Quiz Bowl captain receives national award

    Penn Manor Quiz Bowl team captain Connor Mayers has been honored with a national award from the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence.

    Connor, a high school junior, is recipient of the Benjamin Cooper Academic Ambassador Award, given each year to a member of the Quiz Bowl community who “embodies, by example, the ideals of academic competition.”

    He will receive the award at the National Scholastic Competition June 8 and 9 in Reston, Va., at which the Penn Manor Quiz Bowl team will participate.

    Connor is the sole high school winner of the award, according to Sallie Bookman, who coaches the Penn Manor team along with fellow Penn Manor teacher Chris Meier.

    “Connor is well known and respected for his amazing breadth of knowledge and the ability to buzz in quickly in competitions,” Bookman said. “He deserves the national award as an excellent citizen in the Quiz Bowl community. His positive attitude and sense of humor are contagious.” 

   Connor leads a Penn Manor team that compiled a 68-49 record this year, with multiple wins over college teams and nationally ranked high school teams. The team qualified to compete in the High School Quiz Bowl National Championship Tournament, to be held May 24-27 in Atlanta.

    Quiz Bowl A Team members, in addition to Connor, are Chad Hoglund, Shane Mosley, Claire DeVinney and Gabe McGough.

    Congratulations, Connor, on this prestigious honor!

Penn Manor retirees and Outstanding Employees honored at banquet

Penn Manor honored 15 retirees with more than 360 years of  combined service during the 40th annual Employee Recognition Dinner in the high school cafeteria on May 7.

Attendees watched a video presentation of comments (plus one spoof of a TV show) by seven of the retirees — Ellen Altdoerffer, Page Lutz, Deb Meckley, Cheryl Shaffer, Shelley Hodson, Bill Southward and Lily Williams.

Other retirees included Marty Ioannidis, Karen Gingerich, Jenny Good, Kathy Campbell, Sharlotte Dammerman, Don Hartsough, Phillis Martin and Lori Scanlin.

Also honored Wednesday were 42 Penn Manor employees with 20 or more years of service and the Outstanding Employee and Educators of the Year.

David Sellers, head custodian at Penn Manor High School, was honored as Outstanding Penn Manor Employee for 2018-2019.

Honored as Outstanding Educators were Lisa Roth Walter, a sixth-grade Hambright Elementary teacher, and James McGlynn, a high school science teacher.

Employees honored for 35 years: David Hess and Page Lutz.

Employees honored for 30 years: Dusty Axe, JoLynn Drexel, Jodie Henderson, Doris Long, Skip Reddig and Lisa Roth Walter.

Employees honored for 25 years: Carrie Aukamp, Valerie Bosso, Gretchen Braun, Karen Gingerich, Mary Jacoby, Erin Kreck, Shelly Kyle, Beth Mader and Amy Wall.

Employees honored for 20 years: Janice Adams, Tamara Baker, Sallie Bookman, Debra Drexel, Kelly Eby, Jerry Egan, Stephen Evans, Ellen Goodman, Quay Hanna, Michelle Henry, Kathy Houck, Kim Juba, Scott Keddie, Maricia Kligge, Sharon Knighton, Heidi Long, Brian Malek, Trevor Mattern, Brian Reinking, Cynthia Schieber, Kenneth Webster, Heather Wigerman, Lily Williams, Brian Wimer and Julie Yoder.

Congratulations to all of our honored employees, and best wishes, retirees!

  • 2019 retirees
    Retirees who attended the banquet, from left (front row) Shelley Hodson, Cheryl Shaffer, Lily Williams, (back row) Deb Meckley Page Lutz, Bill Southward, Ellen Altdoerfer and Karen Gingerich.

Three PM schools participate in technology showcase in state Capitol

   Congratulations to the students, teachers and staff members who represented Penn Manor so well at the Student Technology Showcase, held Monday in the state Capitol in Harrisburg.

   Projects completed by students at Hambright and Martic elementary schools and Manor Middle School were selected for the event, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology (PAECT).

   Martic sixth-graders displayed their project to create a television station to broadcast school announcements using Open Broadcaster Software at a cost of less than $100. The broadcasts include lessons on sign language to help students communicate with their peers in the school who have hearing impairments.

   Hambright fifth-graders showed off their “The World in Our Backyard” project, which uses virtual reality technology to tell the story of the wetlands, farmland and wooded areas surrounding their school.

   Manor students displayed “Science in Our Backyard,” in which eighth-graders worked with the Hambright students to conduct soil samples and create 360-degree images of the areas included in “The World in Our Backyard.”

  All three groups of students participated in live-stream presentations on their projects before being introduced in the Senate chamber and given a tour of the Capitol.

  They also got to demonstrate their projects and answer questions from state Sens. Scott Martin and Ryan Aument and state Reps. Brett Miller, Bryan Cutler, Joe Webster and Joe Ciresi.

  “Senator Martin was amazing with our kids,” said Manor teacher Jennifer Ennis. “He invited them into his office, where they had a great question-and-answer session with him. He was genuinely interested in their projects.”

  The Martic students took the opportunity to record an interview with Rep. Cutler for an upcoming television broadcast.

Participating students, teachers and staff included:

  Manor – Teacher Jennifer Ennis; Shelby Foster, Penn Manor technology staff trainer; and students Grace Seiger, Abby Ames, GG Moenga, DeShawn Stanley and Jerica Strohmeyer.

  Martic – Teacher Brian Plumbo; Judy Keller, technology trainer; and students Parker Sipel, Morgan Eachus, Madison Stringer, CeeJay Rettew, Kaitlyn Yeager and Ayianna Amaro.

   Hambright – Teacher Katie Lutz; Shelby Foster, technology staff trainer; and students Ava Luciano, Oliver Hanna, Adelyn Martin, Evangeline Grapes, Soksopia Yiem, Reilly Ennis and Jack Steele.

   For many of the students – and some teachers – Monday’s event was the first time they had visited the Capitol.

   Many thanks to PAECT and our local legislators for this opportunity to showcase what’s happening in Penn Manor schools. 

  • Hambright students explain their VR environmental project to state Rep. Brett Miller.
    Hambright students explain their VR environmental project to state Rep. Brett Miller.

PM students place in the top 10 in state TSA competition

   Eight Penn Manor students placed in the top 10, including two who qualified for national competition, at the recent Technology Student Association (TSA) State Conference at Seven Springs Resort.

  The students were competing against more than 1,900 of the brightest STEM students from 130 TSA chapters across Pennsylvania in a variety of events during the conference, held April 10-13.

   The Penn Manor High School team of Audrey Ritchie and Aliya Trussell placed second in the video game design competition, earning the opportunity to compete in the National TSA Conference this summer.

   Other top-10 finishers for Penn Manor were:

High School
Isaac Leshok – Prepared Presentation, 5th place; Jaden Smith – Children’s Stories, 6th place; and Audrey Ritchie and Aliya Trussell – Webmaster, 8th place.

Middle School
Suren Clark and Ben Hickey – Challenging Technology Issues, 8th place; and Mitch Jackson and Anders Murphy – Biotechnology, 9th place.

Congratulations to these students and their TSA advisors, Molly Miller and Alisha Gerhart, for representing Penn Manor so well!

Fine Arts Day celebrates its 30th year

    Hambright Elementary students and staff enjoyed Fine Arts Day – what many call “the best day of the year” – on April 26.

    This year’s daylong celebration of the arts was even more special because it marked the 30th year for the event, which was established in 1990 to give students and staff a creative break from the regular school schedule.

    Fine Arts Day 2019 included painting, storytelling, carving, ballet, mosaics, photography, sculpture, quilting, cookie decorating, drumming and dancing – from Irish, Japanese and African to ballroom and hip-hop.

   Local artists, entertainers and performers shared their talents with students, who moved to different activities throughout the school to maximize their exposure to the arts.

  Students created mosaic necklaces, origami birds, soap carvings, pour paintings, clay sculptures and quilts. They also tried out drumming, acting, storytelling, and, of course, dancing.

    The original Fine Arts Day was the brainchild of the Hambright PTO, under the leadership of then-president Dottie Zug, according to Don Stewart, who was principal at the time.

   The event allowed all students, including those who may not have excelled at traditional school subjects, to shine by showing their artistic talents, Stewart said.

  “I am so pleased to know that a program that was started 30 years ago is still valued by the parents and teachers,” said Stewart, who went on to serve as Penn Manor superintendent until his retirement in 2009.

“Fine Arts Day could never had been a reality without the generous contributions from some very caring and talented artisans.”

    Many thanks to the more than 100 artists and countless parent volunteers who have helped make this special day possible for the past 30 years!

  • Sock puppets
    Sock puppets

Project helps Hambright teacher earn National Geographic certification

    Hambright Elementary School teacher Katie Lutz has been certified as a National Geographic Educator, thanks, in part, to a project that she and her fifth-graders completed to better understand the natural world around their school.

   Called “The World in My Backyard,” the project uses virtual reality technology to tell the story of the wetlands, farmland and wooded areas surrounding Hambright.

    With the assistance of Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Dr. Carol Welch, students identified medicinal plants, berries, cattails, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and other species in what Lutz calls the “small, immediate wilderness” around the school.

    Students kept journals of their discoveries and made detailed, colorful renderings of the birds, trees and flowers they encountered, along with opossum bones, fox tracks, grapevines and other evidence of life quietly coexisting just outside their walls.

   Lancaster County environmental educator Ann Strauss led field studies to help students understand the biodiversity of the wetlands and neighboring playing fields, and Manor Middle School eighth-graders helped the students conduct soil tests on samples brought back to the classroom.

    Manor Township Public Works Director Mark Harris visited the classroom to explain how a nearby composting farm turns leaves into nutrient-rich compost and to explain “best practices” in soil management.

   Penn Manor High School students helped the fifth-graders document what they had discovered through photography, videography and video editing, and the district’s technology staff assisted Lutz and her students in creating the virtual tour using Google Tour Creator software.

  The finished product — truly a collaborative effort — can be seen here.

  “The World in My Backyard” was the capstone project that led to Lutz’s certification as a National Geographic Educator. An explanation of the project can be seen here.

  Lutz also participated in a National Geographic workshop on inspiring students to learn how the world works – and how they can make it a better place.

The organization’s Learning Framework focuses on the human journey, our changing planet, wildlife, curiosity, responsibility, observation, problem-solving, collaboration and communication. Lutz had to implement these elements into her teaching.

  Completing the certification “reinvigorated my energy and focus around supporting student inquiry and exploration through hands-on learning,” Lutz said.

   The “World in My Backyard” project gave her students “a renewed sense of interest and wonder in the natural world,” she said.

  “When we began this inquiry, I had several students who had no idea what a pine cone was. Now, some of those same students are able to identify the red-winged blackbird by its call,” Lutz said.

   “I hope my students take away a renewed appreciation of our natural environment, an identity as scientists and explorers, and a commitment to environmental stewardship to protect the species and areas that we studied.”

  • Teacher Katie Lutz and students.
    Teacher Katie Lutz leads her students through a wetlands area behind the school.