The SpringBoard Teacher of Distinction award celebrates exceptional and passionate educators whose work exemplifies the core principles of the SpringBoard program. These teachers have inspired a love for learning in their students and have become distinguished leaders in their schools.
Karen Kampschmidt, Highlands Middle School
District: Fort Thomas Independent School District, Kentucky
Currently Teaching: Sixth-grade ELA; also serves as English department head
Favorite SpringBoard unit: I have taught all middle school grades (6–8) of the Springboard curriculum, and my favorite unit is the novel study. I love exploring themes with students and encouraging deep thinking. I enjoy listening to their reactions and observations and the real-life connections that they make while reading the novel. The Embedded Assessments require them to make meaningful observations and support them with commentary, which is such a valuable skill. My students become thinkers instead of just readers.
Why Karen loves SpringBoard: I love using Springboard Digital! There are so many useful features in the digital textbook, such as the drop-down menu that lets me quickly see and assess student work. I can do quick checks of student understanding and then project student work to the class.
Karen's passion: How far I have come with the Springboard curriculum. I’ve gone from, “There’s no way I can teach all of this!” and “This is too hard for my students!” to “I’ve got this down now,” and “Wow! Look at what they have accomplished!” I am confident using the curriculum now. That said, I am excited about the constant changes and improvements being made to the textbook and digital platform.
Julie Pennabaker, Milford Middle School
District: Quakertown Community School District, Pennsylvania
Currently Teaching: Sixth-grade ELA, reading, and social studies
Favorite SpringBoard unit: I love the Presenting Shakespeare unit.
Why Julie loves SpringBoard: I love the instructional design, the arts integration, and the collaborative learning integrated throughout activities.
Julie's passion: I am passionate about all students learning to appreciate, analyze, and craft language for an authentic and meaningful purpose.
Kimberlyn Slagle, David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy
District: Lafayette Parish Public Schools, Louisiana
Currently Teaching: Sixth-grade ELA
Favorite SpringBoard unit: It is very difficult to choose a favorite SpringBoard unit, but if I had to choose just one, it would be Unit 3 in sixth grade. I love when students discover argumentation because it is the cornerstone of the critical thinking skills they will apply to all areas of their lives. If I had to choose one favorite activity, it would be Activity 1.5 in Grade 8, Understanding the Hero's Journey Archetype. I love watching students discover the hero's journey archetype in contemporary literature, classical literature, and even as a pattern in historical tales of heroism.
Why Kimberlyn loves SpringBoard: One of my favorite things about SpringBoard is how students learn strategies for building skills and conceptual knowledge. It's great that I can teach students how to own their ideas and how to apply skills in various contexts. Students feel a sense of confidence as they develop a flexible mindset. SpringBoard provides all the best ingredients for student-centered instruction.
Kimberlyn’s passion: I am passionate about the principles that are the foundation of SpringBoard. SpringBoard helps me apply the latest research-based practices to my teaching. I am enthusiastic about connecting with teachers who are looking for ways to become more effective. My research interests include STEM concepts in the ELA classroom, and the connection between assessments and students developing flexible mindsets.
Maria Torres-Crosby, Memorial Middle School
District: Hillsborough County Public Schools, Florida
Currently Teaching: Sixth-grade ELA
Favorite SpringBoard Unit: My favorite unit is Unit 2 in sixth grade. I really enjoy teaching the novel Walk Two Moons. My students really enjoy the story and the characters. Many of my students can relate to the story because they are being raised by single parents, and they understand how the character feels when she moves away from her home. I also like that there are different options for assessment.
Why Maria loves SpringBoard: I love SpringBoard Digital and its amazing resources, such as audio for the student texts. This feature helps my ELL and ESE (exceptional student education) students, as well as my auditory learners.
Maria's passion: I love the look on students' faces and the pride they feel when they finally understand a concept. I am so grateful that I can have a positive influence on today's youth, because they are the leaders of tomorrow. Teaching is my calling, and I am amazed that students return to visit me. Several of my former students have become English teachers. I feel honored when they explain that my class instilled a love of literature and learning. I am also passionate about the population of students who I teach. We are a Title 1 school where 93 percent of students are on free/reduced price lunch and 56 percent of students are ELL. They need caring, kind, and patient teachers who will shine a light on their lives.