CAMANCHE — The Iowa Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Advisory Council named Camanche Elementary School teacher Sheryl Kennedy recipient of the 2021 Iowa STEM Teacher Award.
Sponsored by Kemin Industries, the award is given to six teachers each year who inspire student interest in STEM, according to a press release from the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.
Now in its seventh year, the award is given annually to one full-time, licensed teacher from each of the six STEM regions in Iowa in any grade level from preschool to high school. The award celebrates innovative teachers who help their students understand that science, technology, engineering and mathematics are more than just academic subjects.
STEM skills are essential life skills, helping prepare students for jobs of the future, the press release said.
Over the 17 years she has taught at Camanche Elementary School, Kennedy has carefully connected the lessons in her classroom to the world around her students. Even though the learners are young, she introduces a variety of concepts and STEM careers into the classroom, according to the press release.
With Kennedy, students explore STEM concepts through hands-on learning and interactive activities. While learning about birds, STEM students experiment with tools, practice dissection, dive into research and use coding to create presentations, the Advisory Council said.
To help students better understand STEM careers, Kennedy finds professionals in a range of industries to present to her classes. From biomedical engineers to a marine biologist, students have heard from presenters from diverse careers and backgrounds, the press release said.
Outside of the classroom, Kennedy works to provide access to STEM for learners. During the summer, she hosts free STEM camps with transportation so any interested student can attend.
As a recipient of the 2021 Iowa STEM Teacher Award, Kennedy will receive $1,500 to use for her classroom and $1,500 for personal use. She will also be recognized in a special ceremony at the Iowa State Fair during STEM Day on Aug. 22, 2021.