Kymberly Larson's 7th-grade science classroom at Shaw Middle School in Spokane, WA, is an academic montage of writing, art, and technology as seen through a scientific lens. This mix has proven to be the right combination to produce happy students and higher achievement. Larson's students have doubled their science achievement over the past five years with 97 percent of her students meeting state standards at the end of their 7th-grade year at Shaw, where 80 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-lunch.
In Larson's classroom, students create individual progress notebooks to reflect on their work. She manages a class data wall to track achievement and show students the areas where they need improvement. Larson uses input from her students to develop daily learning targets and rubrics. Larson turns traditional parent-teacher conferences into meaningful student-led conferences in which the young people present and discuss learning content with their parents. Four of Larson's students have received Chase Youth Awards for making a different in the community through service, creativity, personal growth, or leadership.
Larson was a key contributor to the school's science assessment and curriculum. She was one of only eight science teachers named as members of the Spokane Public Schools Distinguished Educator Team. Larson is Shaw's student government advisor. She took the lead when applying for-and ultimately receiving- a grant to work with the Navigation 101 program, a guidance and life-planning program designed to help students reach their personal goals and create clear plans for post-high school.
1996 Gonzaga University, B.A.