Chloe T., a 5th grade student at the International School of the Peninsula, nominated English teacher Heidi Smith for the Sarah D. Barder Educator Recognition Program, administered by the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at the Johns Hopkins University.
According to program materials, "the purpose of the program [is] to recognize excellence in teachers as identified by students," and students are invited to nominate a teacher from their regular school who has nourished academic talent in a positive and special way.
Chloe's nomination essay was influential in Heidi's selection as an award recipient.
Chloe wrote in her essay, "In August 2010, I moved from Australia to the United States. Moving countries was extremely frightening, and one teacher helped me face my fears and make friends. That was my English teacher, Mrs. Heidi Smith."
"In the classroom," Chloe continued, "she gave us exercises so challenging, it brought out the intellectual in me... Mrs. Smith has amazing project ideas, and throughout the year, we worked on projects including inquiry research projects and African-American history projects. The projects helped me expand my knowledge about the subjects and the people I chose. For the inquiry research project, my friends and I worked on high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). I am now passionate about this topic and everyday I check my food to see if it contains HFCS, and if it does, I try to avoid eating it."
Heidi loves being a teacher because she's "given the opportunity to positively impact the lives of students by extending my philosophy of education through my methods of teaching. To me, teaching is not only culminating my credentials and experience, it is like being a parent - what I do will influence decisions, actions, and character in students. These traits develop a positive community within the school of which I am part and they wave into our global society, a society that is advancing at rapid speed."
Heidi will attend John Hopkins University's SDB Annual Conference in Westlake Village, California, in February, where she will receive a special certificate and a stipend to use in her classroom or at INLT*.
We thank Chloe for nominating Heidi, and are thrilled that Heidi will be receiving this well-deserved recognition!
*In 2020, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) formally changed its name to Silicon Valley International School (INTL) to better reflect its bilingual programs, location, and international values.