Holyoke Elementary’s Kimberlee Bennett, pictured at left, is the 2017-18 VFW District 4 Teacher of the Year. Lynn Schneider, pictured at right, nominated Bennett for the honor.
Bennett is Colorado VFW District 4 Teacher of the Year
Holyoke Elementary School already knew they had something special in social studies teacher Kimberlee Bennett, but now her reputation is spreading throughout northeastern Colorado and beyond.
On Jan. 14 at an awards luncheon in Brush, she was recognized as Teacher of the Year by Colorado’s District 4 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Bennett was initially nominated for the honor by colleague Lynn Schneider at the local level. Holyoke’s VFW Post 6482 is one of 10 posts in District 4.
Bennett would have you believe she received district recognition because she was the only person nominated, but that is simply not the truth. As a result of winning on the district level, Bennett’s résumé has been sent on to the state level for consideration. An elementary, junior high and high school winner from each state will be passed along to VFW national headquarters for the national awards contest.
At the Brush luncheon, Schneider’s recommendation letter was read aloud. She said that Bennett, “works tirelessly to provide students with a thorough, well-rounded education emphasizing civics and citizenship, while constantly striving to make her lessons relevant and engaging.”
Bennett explained her third- and fourth-grade social studies classes are project- based. While students learn about history, geography, economics, government and cultures, they aren’t just memorizing dates and facts. Instead, they focus on social studies concepts. Principal Kyle Stumpf, Bennett acknowledged at the luncheon, is exceptionally supportive of the project-based curriculum.
When students enter Bennett’s third-grade class, they focus on social studies at a local level. Schneider explained in her letter that many of Bennett’s homework assignments involve learning about Holyoke. They might be instructed to find out who serves on the school board or what businesses are on main street.
Students know who their elected city officials are, and they are familiar with the town’s history.
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