School Spotlight: Jackson Middle School
Exercise has plenty of benefits, but for the 7th graders at Jackson Middle School in Champlin, burning calories wasn’t necessarily the primary objective of “Get Moving Day.”
“It’s pretty much an in-school field trip,” said Sarah Garrett, a science teacher.
This in-school field trip had students working on their abs, testing their jumping abilities and doing some good old-fashioned leg work.
“We have a theme of each trimester, and our theme for 7th grade is ‘get moving,’” Garrett said.
“Get Moving Day,” and all of the associated activities, was just one of the ways that staff members taught students about movement to fit with the theme of the trimester.
But it’s certainly not the only time Sarah Garrett and her students engage in hands-on activities.
“Sarah is one of those teachers that kind of is constantly, I think, even probably at home, thinking of, ‘what are new ways that I can teach this material to my students?” said Jane Matheson, a curriculum integrator at Jackson Middle School.
Matheson says that Garrett is constantly coming to her with new ideas on ways to teach kids about science.
“She has them do bird kind of investigations, mammal investigations, prairie investigations,” Matheson said. “And her kids are out in the field, which they should be, because that’s what environmental science is.”
If you talk to Garrett, it’s easy to see why she takes that approach.
“If we’re gonna have students be lifelong learners, and like, ‘hey remember when we did this?’ And like, ‘oh yeah that’s something I was very passionate about.’ it’s gonna be those experiences,” Garrett said. “When they’re hands on, when they’re outside.”
Honored by the Environmental Protection Agency
Garrett has a passion for teaching, and in September, that passion was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Garrett was one of the honorable mention winners of the EPA’s Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators.
“So out of the whole national contest, she was one of the top ten environmental educators in the country,” Matheson said. “We’re very proud of her.”
“It was kind of a mixed bag of emotions,” Garrett added. “I was like yay, I got something! But OK now what. What does that all mean?”
What it means is that Garrett’s students are getting a top-notch science education. And while she didn’t get the top prize, it’s an honor that Garrett and her colleagues don’t take lightly.
“Sarah Garrett is the epitome of what we want in our teachers,” Matheson said.