Wichita-Area Summer Activities for Everyone

By Kendall Vogts

May is finally here, and it seems like even though there were few April showers to bring May flowers, everything is slowly, but surely budding out and blooming. As I’m writing, it seems that the trees, that just days ago were bare, are green, leafy and blowing in the breeze! Spring, to me, is always a time of life. Winter months bring the death or hibernation of things when it comes to nature, but spring is the start and return of life!

As I’m joyous about all that spring brings, the teacher in me is squirming, itching and wondering if my face could sink anymore; if the bags under my eyes could get any bigger. Let’s face it, by mid April, the students are mentally done. The teachers… oh, that probably hits shortly after, if not by the first of May. The school year goes by so quickly. It seems like we have just started, and then it’s Thanksgiving break. And then before we know it, it’s February. After February, however, it feels as though the school year slows down, and by May, it’s as if time is crawling by.

Needless to say, summer break is a big deal, for students and teachers alike. We busy ourselves teaching and learning a year’s worth of content in nine months, and for students who are any bit behind, they have to work twice as hard with their educators. So as school comes to a close, treat your student to something special, something to reward them for their hard work, something totally un-school related.

Here is a teacher’s list of summer approved activities! As I have gotten to know my eighth grade students, I am pretty confident in saying that most, if not all, of these activities could be student approved!

Take a trip to the Sedgwick County Zoo. I am so impressed with the grounds, the animals and the activities they have at the zoo during the summer!

Make a day of it and go to a water park or a swimming pool different than the ones you and your family frequent.

Go on a walk or a bike ride and stop by a local splash pad or spray park.

Take a picnic lunch and head to the lake. If boating or jet skiing aren’t for you, grab some fishing poles and head to the docs, or take your bathing suits and swim near the beach.

Head to the Cosmosphere or Strataca (the salt museum), both located just up the road in Hutchinson, Kansas. Both have awesome opportunities for families!

Take an afternoon and go paint some pottery at Color Me Mine, right there in Wichita.

Plant a garden at home. Make a goal of using home grown produce during the summer or plant your own pumpkins to prepare for the fall.

To free your mind and unwind during the summer is not the huge task it seems to be. I understand that even after school’s out, kids remain busy, and it might seem that they are even busier. However, as a teacher, I see the benefits of taking a moment, slowing down and reconnecting with family. Make new memories and get to know more about your kids! As they grow, they see, hear and experience more than you would imagine. Take the time and make your own summer to-do list, or use mine and cross off a few of my to-dos. You might just see the editor and I on our trip to the zoo!

Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to WFM publisher Todd Vogts.

Cosmosphere strengthens focus on education

COSMOSPHERE CAMPS0003The Cosmosphere, the Hutchinson, Kan.-based space center and museum, has embarked on a multi-faceted journey of revitalization, with a large amount of the effort focusing on more advanced educational programming. New curriculum that focuses on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and college and career readiness helps teachers and students connect the dots between theory and application.

The Smithsonian-affiliated Cosmosphere’s Hall of Space Museum, as many are aware, houses the largest combined collection of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world. Whereas the Cosmosphere’s educational programs may be less widely known, the newly expanded science-based education efforts tie perfectly into the national push for better science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and career development. The initiative also addresses issues at the state level, providing relevant learning content for school districts strapped by shortages of math and science teachers and facing extremely tight budgets.

“We know times are tough for schools, and they have to make hard decisions about how to spend their money,” says Tracey Tomme, the Cosmosphere’s Vice President of Education. “As we design our new programs, we are making sure they are meeting the standards schools need. For instance, STEM skills are being emphasized heavily in schools. While literacy and math are key to every child’s future, our programs are meeting all of these core areas along with history, communications and workplace skills. The best way to describe it is that we are no longer just a field trip. We are providing standards-aligned, career-focused, curricular packages that include a culminating event at the Cosmosphere.”  

Tomme joined the Cosmosphere in August of 2014, with the role of driving the institution’s commitment to STEM education initiatives and positioning the Cosmosphere as a leader in applied science education. She previously served as President/CEO of the Colorado Consortium for Earth and Space Science Education (CCESSE), the company responsible for running the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado. In that position, she helped turn the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado into one of the region’s premier providers of STEM educational outreach.

The Cosmosphere currently serves approximately 12,000 students each year. With its new programs those numbers are likely to increase to 15,000 to 20,000 or more per year. Tomme said Cosmosphere representatives have visited with many school districts around the area, and it is clear they want to provide the best programs possible for their students. 

 “We are developing solid programs that schools can truly appreciate as we partner to serve the students and teachers of Kansas and our surrounding states,” Tomme said.

The Cosmosphere’s learning experiences include:

  • Known worldwide, Cosmosphere Camps, for students entering second grade through high school, are dedicated to inspiring explorers of all ages using STEM principles and building leadership and teamwork skills. Camps include Space 101-501, where campers train like astronauts using methods employed by NASA; Mars Academy, Forces of Flight, Starship Earth, Lunar Base and Alien Adventure. There are also custom-designed camps for school groups as well as Merits of Space for Boy Scouts from across the country.
  • The Cosmosphere takes its education programs direct to students through school visits and live webcasts.
  • The Cosmosphere’s professional staff trains, educates and entertains Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls, and 4-H participants of all ages. From liquid nitrogen ice cream to hands-on experiments, the Cosmosphere inspires and motivates Scouts. Merit badges and patches are available, and all participants receive a customized Cosmosphere patch.
  • The new Cosmosphere curriculum-based packages are grade-level aligned from pre-K through 12th grade. These packages include educator professional development and co-curricular lessons. Every package includes science, math, an historical focus, literature piece, and an engineering design challenge.

Over the years, the Cosmosphere’s education experiences and space camps have provided a learning spark and springboard for many people now working science or high-tech related jobs. A few notable alumni include Amanda Premer, Operations Support Officer, Johnson Space Center (JSC); Theresa Perks, Mission Controller, JSC;  Paul Dees, Engineer, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center; and Kate Becker, Satellite Data and Information Service Office of International Affairs, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The new focus in many of the Cosmosphere educational experiences involves translating learning into group collaboration, problem-solving and risk/reward trials. They are cross-curricular, integrating not only science and math but communications/journalism skills, history and other subjects, while also emphasizing life skills and critical thinking.

“Reading about a nuclear crisis or a problem with a crew of astronauts trying to get back to Earth is one thing,” Tomme said, “but working together to address all aspects of a situation and formulate and manage a solution, really makes students think and learn in a way that energizes and inspires them.”

Tomme also explained how experiencing failure and overcoming it – as has happened many times in space exploration – is a key learning that participants take away from the Cosmosphere’s educational programs.

To better position itself for the future and more accurately reflect its offerings, the Cosmosphere recently introduced refreshed branding that highlights its efforts to provide more services to schools and learners of all ages. The positioning includes a new tagline: International SciEd Center and Space Museum. Tomme said the Cosmosphere strives to increase outreach not just internationally but locally as well as to increase the diversity of the participants in its educational programs for schools, camps and after-school programs. 

Toward that goal, the center is keeping its prices as low as possible while adding programs that are accessible through scholarships for underrepresented groups. The Cosmosphere has seen significant enthusiasm for its All Girls Physics of Flight camps, Boys and Girls Club programs and rural school outreach initiatives. 

The Cosmosphere is seeking additional funds and engaging with corporate sponsors to continue and expand these enhanced STEM-based, experiential learning experiences for kids nationwide and internationally. They are able and willing to match those who want to provide quality educational experiences for students in their region to the schools who are seeking support. General funding support for the education programs also allows the Cosmosphere to keep the price point as low as possible.

That expanded access and the overall new focus for the Cosmosphere builds on the center’s established reputation and world-recognized museum of space history and allows it to touch and inspire youth in entirely new ways.

“Our artifacts collection is truly amazing,” Tomme said. “It should be used as a tourist attraction but also as a learning tool for the next generation. The programs we are creating and delivering are being watched closely by other museums and institutions.  We are setting a new standard for engaging young minds in historical events that will inspire them to think big.”

Love’s Languages

By Ian Anderson

communicationI earn my living trying to teach high school students how to use language. This includes lessons on grammar and mechanics, but mainly my message is this: they must know how to communicate well.

In other words, if they can use English effectively, they will be better for it in their professional and personal lives.

This is especially true, I tell them, with regard to what they meant to say or write and what they actually said or wrote.

Often we think we’ve been clear — it’s in black and white in our own heads, after all — when what we’ve actually communicated is something different. Tone is a whole other matter and complicates things further. And if these things are true about the words we use in everyday language, that they can communicate in ways we don’t intend, what about love languages?

Every so often, I’m reminded that I need a refresher course in foreign language: how to speak love to my wife.

English may be our first language, but we’re from vastly different lands when it comes to communicating love. We’ve been married over a decade, so it might be easy to assume that I’m skilled in getting to her heart. Alas, I’m a slow learner, and I need constant teaching.

Words are important to me, and I receive love in the form of encouragement — or at least words are the main way — and my wife likes the occasional compliment, too. However, words are not what sink down and stay with her; she hears love most loudly in a different way.

Of course, as in any misunderstanding, the difficulty is that I can’t wrap my mind around her perspective. Because love has to do with losing my appetite for myself, indeed, with placing myself behind my wife, I have to realize that speaking my own love language communicates a weak message to her. Sometimes, the message I intend is not heard, and the most painful part is that I think I’ve given love when I have not.

I’m still better at speaking my own language. I’m just like my students, who, upon writing a sentence they’re sure is clear, continue to argue they’ve presented content that simply isn’t there.

Intention isn’t enough.

Clarity is only valuable when it’s universal, not just in my own mind.

The lesson I need this February is the lesson of diversity of language — that my wife is different, and that I must relearn how to best love her. I must unravel first myself, and then widen my narrow concept of communicating.

Perhaps each time I have to correct a student’s paper I’ll remember: it’s not just in grammar we need practice. Love’s languages are also many, and they’re worth understanding and refining.

Ian Anderson is a teacher, a husband, and a dad. He lives with his family in Central Kansas. Occasionally, he tweets here: @ian_writes.

February from a Teacher’s Perspective

By Kendall Vogts

supportI am one blessed teacher! I had a long Christmas break and was able to spend time with my family and friends, make many wonderful memories, play with my nephews and niece, and get in some much needed relaxation time. I slept in, lounged on the couch, and binge-watched a show on Netflix with my husband. It was fantastic! But, I must admit, the time leading up to Christmas break is sometimes difficult on students and teachers, as is the time refocusing, once our break is over.

Coming back from Christmas break is an adjustment. Rules and expectations must be retaught, lessons start back slowly, and interruptions from students are many, but finally we get rolling again.

All is well through January!

We hit that last week, in stride, and glide into February, but then that itch comes around again. It’s a, “Haven’t we been here for a while?” itch. Yes, by mid-February, the teachers feel it too. We see students squirm in seats. We see a growing lack of enthusiasm, and we see glazed over eyes, as our students search for the light at the end of the tunnel that comes in the form of Spring break.

It’s true… The time between Christmas and Spring Break can seem extremely long and strenuous. But while your kids might seem very “blah” about this point of the school year, remember, there is also the side of your child’s educators to consider. Let me shed some light on it for you!

In February, we are trying our hardest to engage your children! We are preparing for and carrying out parent/teacher conferences where we truly want to see you and your children show up! We are going to our students’ ball games! We are trying our best to help your students solve problems at school (because even when they don’t tell you, they are there). We are entering grades. We are staying after school in order to help our students. We are taking time to work on interventions, in order to help your children become more successful. We are greeting your children in the hall and by the door! We are laughing with, high-fiving, fist-bumping, and hugging our students as they come into or exit our classrooms. All the while, knowing that our students are slowing down; hitting the wall of boredom or anxiousness as the next break away from structure, learning, and friendship that their teachers work very hard to provide.

So why do it? As teachers, why do we constantly put ourselves out there to only sometimes be well received? Why work to help your kids make connections with the material they are learning? Why work to make every single one of our 125 students feel valued and successful?

Well, because we love what we do. We love our students. I can truly say that I love each of my students. I pray for them, and I care about their success and well-being. I have a common response that I tell everyone who asks me, “8th graders, how’s that? Aren’t they difficult?” Here it is: I love my job, and I really do have the best group of students. And even when they are jerks (because let’s face it, teenagers can be jerks sometimes) they are mine. For this school year, they are my students and I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else.

So as your students slow down, hit a wall, or become very “blah” in the month of February, help their teachers by encouraging them.

Send them to school with the reminder that you love them, and so do their teachers. Tell them that you are proud of them for all they have accomplished. Send them to school with a note of encouragement, and pack an extra for their teachers!

You see your kids every day, and so do their teachers. There are two sides to the story, when it comes to school and even when it’s hard or monotonous, your child’s educator is working to help your students love and be successful at school!

Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to WFM publisher Todd Vogts.

New Year, New Resolution

By Kendall Vogts

KendallEssayEvery New Year’s Eve, I start the evening with the plan of making and carrying out a resolution for the new year. My resolutions have been things such as: losing weight and getting more active, reading my Bible more and getting closer to The Lord, and being a better friend by making a conscious effort to be more communicative.

Now, we all know that when making a resolution, we are committing to do or not do something for an entire year. However, when looking at the definitions of the word resolution (as an English teacher, I do that sort of thing, often), I found another definition: “The action of solving a problem.”

For me, resolving to do or stop doing something for a year has never worked out. I either forget or become noncommittal. However, this year, I think that working to solve a problem is very realistic for me, as everyday, I see problems walk in and out of my classroom.

No, I am not referring to my students as problems, but the slumps of their shoulders, their down faces, their curse words, and rude gestures are the results of the problems they face. I know what you’re thinking, “There is no way this lady can solve every problem for each of her, 125 students.”

And I agree. You are right. But I can work to change how I act toward them to bring peace and hope to situations that, for them, might seem like or actually be problems.

This morning, as I was driving to work, I knew there were going to be tough events that would and had to take place. I had to respond to emails where people were not necessarily in agreeance with me. I had to explain a recent decision I made. I had to talk to a young lady about the consequences of her actions. And all of this because two of my students had not made good decisions while at school.

As I was playing out the scenarios in my head, before I even arrived at school, I knew I had to stop right in my tracks. The nerves had woken me up, kept me awake, and were giving me anxiety during my drive. I knew this was a far bigger ordeal than I could handle on my own.

I prayed for the right words, that my actions would not be my own, that I would speak (and email) words of grace to the people that I had contact with throughout the day.

I have been shown so much grace before, during, and after the things in my life that have seemed like and have actually been problems. And I have felt a peace and hope be restored.

So, that is my resolution, or my vow to work towards ending problems; to stop, take a moment before I speak, respond, or act, and attempt to see their troubles the way that they do and try to show as much grace as possible to the people and the problem at hand.

In this season of joy, family, togetherness, and the hope of positive, future change, I hope that you can come up with a resolution that you can commit to for the year of 2016. Maybe you will vow to help end some problem that you see in your life, or the lives of those close to you. If resolutions aren’t for you, I hope that 2016 treats you well and that you experience so much peace and happiness.

Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to WFM publisher Todd Vogts.

Heights parents get a sample of high school life

Heights parents use their phones to answer Algebra 2 questions using the online assessment tool Kahoot in Thersa Mamaoag’s class. The green color on the screens show the answer is correct.
Heights parents use their phones to answer Algebra 2 questions using the online assessment tool Kahoot in Thersa Mamaoag’s class. The green color on the screens show the answer is correct.

Hundreds of parents filled the halls of Heights High School to learn about their child’s high school life. The annual Parent Exchange Day gives parents the opportunity to walk the halls to find classes, meet the teachers and work on class assignments to better understand what their child does at school.

Teachers had activities for parents to give them an idea of what happens in the classroom. In Theresa Mamaoag’s Algebra 2 class, parents were introduced to Kahoot, an online assessment tool that uses smart phones or tablets. Parents were tested to see if they could answer questions about equations in 5 seconds. The parents were engaged and quickly learned how to use the program.

Principal Bruce Deterding says it’s a great way to encourage parental involvement.

This is the 35th year for Heights’ Parent Exchange Day.

The Season of Pumpkin Spice

By Kendall Vogts

KendallEssay“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” While I am one to sing this from the mountain top, while wearing a turtleneck with graphics of fall-colored leaves and scarecrows, sipping on my pumpkins spice latte from Starbucks, others might disagree. As the stores pump out fall-themed decorations, halloween costumes, spooky movies and children’s books, pumpkin spiced cookies, Pop Tarts, cupcakes, pudding, and coffee, I can not help but get excited! Fall is my favorite season. I love the cool weather that allows me to wear boots and scarves, and as a teacher and coach, there are many things that fall brings to the school year that fill me with so much joy!

I find myself getting lost in coaching cross country and doting over my runners, and I love celebrating the victories of my students who play football, volleyball, and cheer. Also, as a wife to a high school teacher, I find myself enjoying the triumphs of his students, as well! In all of the excitement, I think it is easy to ignore, or completely cover up, anything negative. However, it has been brought to my attention that in all of the joys of fall and the ever-busy school year, there are students at every level who are struggling.

While many students try to cover up their struggles by internalizing them, the honesty and bluntness of students, at least my students, bring all of their daily pains into clear view. I gave my eighth grade students an assignment to write a personal narrative essay. The topic for their personal narrative was a memory from their past that impacted their life in a positive or negative way. Some chose topics like: an incredible vacation, the day their siblings were born, or the first time they went hunting with their dad. Others chose things like: the days leading up to my parents’ divorce, my nanna getting cancer, family members dealing with drug abuse, or moving in with my foster family.

In their innocence and honesty, which I’m sure most people speculate as to whether those qualities truly exist in kids today or not, they have bared their souls to me. They have entrusted me with memories so personal, so negative, and it makes me want to just stop what I am doing and hug all of them. Many of us see middle school students, grade schoolers, or high school age students as difficult, shallow, rude, out of control, entitled, or any other stereotype that these age groups have, but for many of the students, there are reasons as to why they are the way that they are.

I became a teacher, not because of the “great” salary that I would receive for the rest of my life, but because I wanted to make a difference in my students’ lives the way a particular teacher from high school had influenced mine. However, the longer I teach and coach, the more I realize that I am a teacher because I need to know that at least the 125 students and 30 athletes at my school that I see everyday, which is still only about ⅓ of our student population, feel loved. My heart aches for my students every day; not only for the students who are clearly going through something difficult, but every single kid. I want them to feel love, I want them to know that they are cared for, that they can be and do anything that they could ever want, that they are my “kids” and I would go to battle for them, and that for this year, I want to be around no one else but them.

Fall, the time of the year when nature feels its death creeping up, slowly, crawling across the land, I feel life! The crisp air and warmness of the fall colors fill me with joy, eagerness, and I am revived. That is what I hope to give to my students. May I be their pumpkin spice, their fall-themed decorations, the jack o’lanterns, and the leaf piles that fill them with the wonder of, “I’m a kid, and I’ll jump into this wonderful unknown when I am ready.” And let me be, for them, assurance of, “If I am positive, there can only be good things to come!” Fall, the back to school season can be torturous for students, or it can be safe and inviting, and I am hoping that in my classroom, my students feel nothing less that genuinely loved.

Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to the luckiest man alive, Wichita Family Magazine publisher Todd Vogts.

Seeking my happy place

By Kendall Vogts

running-shoes-1421645The school year is officially under way, and, as a teacher, coach, and wife to a teacher, I am feeling the freedoms of summer slipping away. I also feel the pressures of teacherhood, the dog-tiredness, the need to be there for my students and team, and the really strong want to just chill with my husband like we did over the summer.

In all of the craziness that comes as we move farther into the school year, for teachers, parents, and even the kiddos, it’s important to take time to do the things we love; even if it’s a bike ride, a movie marathon, or eating a favorite meal.

The special things tend to get buried under the stress, and that is why I am making it a goal for the school year to continue to do the things I love.

Doing our favorite things does not have to be limited to the three months in the year that we feel most “free”.

Along with the school year stresses, there is something else that I have been feeling that I find so exciting.

I know I am not the only one who feels fall coming. The cool mornings, mild afternoon temperatures, and crisp smelling air are screaming at me, “Fall is here, Kendall! It’s time!”

It is the perfect time to do one the things that I love so much.

I am a runner.

I don’t always run the farthest or the fastest, but since my senior year of high school, I have been a runner.

Like quite a few other runners I know, I prefer to run when it is cool outside, but the coolness and crispness of the fall air aren’t the only reasons why this is my favorite time to run. Running in the fall allows me to feel the most warming nostalgia, and I seek to recreate those feelings every time I run in the fall. That is easily one of my favorite things.

In college, I would visit my hometown of Minneapolis, Kan., and as a member of my college cross country team, I would need to do runs when I was away from campus.

In Minneapolis, I have a route that I absolutely love to run. It never gets old, and that is because it’s my happy place. That is a path that I try to recreate wherever I am. I run different routes where I currently live, and I have specific routes that I run when I visit my sisters in Oklahoma or Minnesota.

And I run them for the same reasons — those feelings.

When I am away an my happy place, it really doesn’t matter what the course looks like, or how challenging it is.

What really matters is that the air is cool and crisp, the leaves are changing, I am in my favorite long-sleeved T-shirt, and it smells like fall.

I take in everything my route has to offer, and I lose myself. The chaos of school, students, athletes, and a messy house leave me, and I am happy.

As the year continues, I will make it a point to “escape” in this way as often as I can, and I hope that you and your family are able to do the same thing.

Set down the dishes, the homework, and the car keys. Choose something special to you, and escape!

Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to the luckiest man alive, Wichita Family Magazine publisher Todd Vogts.

Be a life-long learner


This is an exciting time of the year. Or, it is a terrifying and dreadful time of the year.

It’s all about perspective. Some are excited to for school to be starting up again, while others hate it.

Usually, those who hate it are students. Older students. High school students.

Elementary students are usually excited because they get to see their friends again and meet their new teachers and get a bunch of cool gear to start the school year off right.

Sure, high school students might get all of that as well, but it isn’t as high of a priority. And in an age of social media, they can Facebook, Tweet and Snapchat their friends whenever they want, so though school may be more of a socialize venture for them, they can still socialize in the summer without even having to step foot into their buildings of education.

For me personally, I am always excited, if not a little nervous, about August rolling around.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am also a teacher, and my lovely new wife is a teacher as well.

It can be hectic trying to get plans ready, classrooms set up and simply into the right mindset to teach again.

However, I enjoy it. I consider myself a life-long learner. I enjoy acquiring new skills and knowledge, and I try to impart that upon my own students.

When I think about it, I haven’t been out of school since I first started. There might have been a year in there when I was running a weekly newspaper in central Kansas. This was between the completion of my bachelor’s degree from the esteemed Wichita State University and my deciding to become a teacher by pursing my credentials and master’s degree from Fort Hays State University. That span of time hardly counts, right?

I firmly believe education is important for our society. That doesn’t mean everyone should earn a four-year degree or a master’s degree. Maybe it means securing a vocational certification or getting an associate’s degree.

It all comes down to where a person wants to see his or her life go. There is no one right answer. It is an individual decision.

The key is know what you want and then taking the appropriate steps to achieve it.

Never stop learning. Seize every opportunity to better yourself and your mind. And, most importantly, embrace back-to-school time.

— Todd Vogts, publisher

Dodge third-grade teacher receives national Milken Award

From left, Dodger, school mascot; Susan Rosell,  principal,; Amy Stanislowski, Milken Award recipient; Lowell Milken, Milken Family Foundation Co-Founder; Sheril Logan, BOE President; Dale Dennis, Deputy Kansas Education Commissioner; Kathy Busch, Kansas State BOE and John Allison, Superintendent.
From left, Dodger, school mascot; Susan Rosell, principal,; Amy Stanislowski, Milken Award recipient; Lowell Milken, Milken Family Foundation Co-Founder; Sheril Logan, BOE President; Dale Dennis, Deputy Kansas Education Commissioner; Kathy Busch, Kansas State BOE and John Allison, Superintendent.

Amy Stanislowski, third-grade teacher at Dodge Literacy Magnet, received the national Milken Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation for outstanding teaching. She was surprised with the honor during a special assembly.

Referred to as “The Oscars of Teaching,” by Teacher Magazine, the purpose of the Milken Award is to recognize, celebrate and reward teachers, principals and other education professionals who make significant contributions to the education of children. Recipients are selected early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish.

Stanislowski received an unrestricted cash award of $25,000 and now belongs to a network of more than 2,600 educators, allowing her to share ideas with outstanding teachers from across the country.

Stanislowski said she’s will probably use some of her award to support her students and to take classes to further her education.