At Kenneth J. Carberry Intermediate School in Emmett, Idaho, the state's only NASA Explorer School and one of only a handful in the nation, fourth-grade teacher Jon Bennetts has achieved stellar results. As a member of the school's NASA Explorer Team, Bennetts promotes math, science and technology through engaging, hands-on activities. He sponsored the Mars Rover Team two years in a row, working long hours after school to help students design a Mars Rover for entry into competition. He also involves parents by helping to coordinate several NASA Family Nights each year. In May 2007, Bennetts coordinated a live downlink conversation with an astronaut on the International Space Station, during which he and his students asked her questions while the school and community watched. Bennetts often intertwines entertaining, personal, relevant stories into his standards-based lessons, relates projects on Idaho history to students' hobbies, and shows real-world examples of equipment and supplies from the Old West during Pioneer Day. Scores on the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) in Bennetts' classroom improve every year, even among English Language Learners, students from low-income families and those who previously scored below proficient. Bennetts has participated in the Catalyst program for gifted students, all of whom made substantial gains on the ISAT under his tutelage. When it comes to high academic achievement, Jon Bennetts is truly a star teacher.
1996 University of Idaho, B.S.