In recognition of the energetic learning environment she creates daily for her students, her passion for technology integration in the classroom, and her ongoing thirst for professional growth, Stephanie Middleton, World History and Advanced Placement (AP)Human Geography teacher at the Professional and Technical High School (PATHS), has been named as Osceola School District's 2014 Teacher of the Year at an awards ceremony on March 15, 2013. Each day, Ms. Middleton inspires ninth through twelfth grade students to actively engage in learning and strive higher than they ever thought possible. She has distinguished herself as one of Osceola’s most dependable and dedicated teachers, having both a wonderful command of all facets of the curriculum and the gift to know how to present them successfully to her students.
"When learning is made to be fun, engaging and done utilizing methods such as games and technology that attract students, it encourages them, draws them into studying and reviewing, and creates learning experiences in a variety of places which then translates into test scores," said Ms. Middleton. "Looking at the learning gains made by my students over the year, I am encouraged to continue to find ways to keep learning fresh."
As students today are “digital natives,” Ms. Middleton has excelled at integrating the latest technology into her classroom, including having students use their own mobile devices. Her instructional methods have translated into higher test scores for students. In the last two years of teaching AP Human Geography, the average passing rates for her students on the AP exam were higher than the national average. She attributes her students’ success and learning to teaching the standards in fresh, innovative ways that provide deep and meaningful connections.
Ms. Middleton continues to be an instructional leader both at her school and across the district by giving numerous workshops for fellow educators on technology integration in the classroom. As a result, the Osceola School District has seen an increase in the number of teachers using a variety of technologies. She teaches a weekly class on her campus to help teachers create a Moodle course in their respective content areas, and has presented her knowledge of instructional technology at both state and national conferences.
In addition, Ms. Middleton helps her students look well beyond their immediate surroundings to become aware of national and international issues. Her World History classes raise money for the Bead for Life organization that creates sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of extreme poverty. Her Glocal Club members meet regularly to research world problems and see viable solutions as a way to “be the change” in the world.
"Stephanie is a highly-motivated instructor, and she is an important reason for the success of our school," said Pete Hodges, Principal of PATHS. "Her tireless efforts have produced success with all of her students, and she continues to work with them to ensure that they reach their academic potential. She excels at bringing a variety of experiences to help generate student interest and relevance to her instruction."
Ms. Middleton will now represent the many outstanding educators in Osceola County at the state level in the Florida Department of Education/Macy's 2014 Teacher of the Year judging.