Several years prior to being named a Milken Educator, then-eighth-grade science teacher Amy Schaefer spear-headed some high interest activities in her classroom at Crestview Middle School in Ellisville. According to Mrs. Schaefer, it was a fun to teach students about the anatomy of frogs as well as the physical and chemical changes involved in cooking fresh fish & frog legs over an open fire. Subsequently, "Pioneer Day" was born and evolved into an interdisciplinary grade-level event in which students recreated elements of American pioneer life: carving wood, crawfishing, tanning deer hides, candle making, writing collaborative novels about the period, and planning and preparing authentic pioneer food & sarsaparilla for more than 350 students and community members who attended. Pioneer Day brought teachers, students, parents, & community together, and while it was a lot of work, it was well worth the effort to see students work so hard to prepare for the event then enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Prior to teaching Science at Crestview, Ms. Schaefer developed various activities as a sixth-grade Language Arts teacher aimed at teaching teamwork and breaking down stereotypes. Some of her favorite activities with middle school students involved the teamwork involved in the development and ongoing care of a butterfly garden. Students studied metamorphosis, migration of monarch butterflies, monarch-rearing, as well as participating in international penpal activities in unison with the Spanish teachers, all while experiencing the joys of gardening and quiet time with nature. In the classroom, Ms. Schaefer worked to help her students develop a strong academic vocabulary while evoking curiosity and a sense of wonder about the natural world of Earth Science. Teaching the students how to reason, think and make choices was always paramount in her classroom, where there was rarely a dull moment.
In 2016, Ms. Schaefer retired from full-time teaching in order to raise two of her young grandchildren. After taking a year off, she worked part-time as a homebound instructor, grades 6-12, for the Special School District. Currently, she is a part-time substitute teacher in her seven grandchildren’s school districts. Her favorites assignments are at their schools where they can see Grandma at work! Last fall during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic Ms. Schaefer accepted a full-time longterm substitute position. She broke her leg the morning of the first day of school. Not wanting to disappoint or confuse the online students who’d already suffered so much by missing two months of school that prior Spring, she decided the “show must go on.” She introduced Physical Science to her online students by discussing the forces that resulted in her predicament, all while having a cast put on her leg in the emergency room. It was a memorable online Zoom lesson during a school year we’d all like to forget!
2003 National Board Certification-Adolescent Science
1997 Webster University, M.A.
1992 University of Missouri - St. Louis, B.A.