Betsey Kennedy, fifth grade teacher at Big Shanty Elementary, has been named one of Georgia’s Oustanding Elementary Social Studies Educators for 2009. The award, sponsored by the Georgia Council for Social Studies, was presented during the National Council for Social Studies annual conference held in Atlanta this November.
Ms. Kennedy’s principal, colleagues, students, and parents all admire Betsey’s depth of devotion to her students and the countless ways in which she has grown and extended the art and craft of teaching excellence.
Within her classroom, Betsey has brought Social Studies to life for her students in myriad ways, infusing technology and rich resources into her teaching. Highlights include her students’ 1920’s silent movie projects, webquests, and a class movie on the Holocaust. In a beautiful melding of economics and service learning, Betsey has instilled in her students true civic engagement through their participation in the Heifer International Program.
Beyond her classroom, Ms. Kennedy has also worked on the Social Studies Textbook Adoption and Report Card Revision Committees, has presented at the district’s Summer Leadership Conference, is a mentor teacher in Cobb’s New Teacher Institute, and has written excellent curriculum for PICASSO. At the state and national levels, she helped develop 5th grade Social Studies frameworks for the Georgia Department of Education and has presented on a variety of topics at state and national conferences.
To see Betsey at work in her classroom is to see a consummate professional in action. The way in which she interacts with her students to build their knowledge and skills reveals her own deep grasp of content matter, and her lively and skillful use of a wide array of resources prompts her students to dive into the topic. The fact that she goes beyond mere content to help build students’ minds AND hearts is what distinguishes Betsey’s work from that of a merely “good” teacher. Her work lifts her to the ranks of those whose influence and teaching will linger in the minds of her students for years to come.
Submitted by JoAnn Wood, Elementary Social Studies Supervisor