As director of "Bloom Central"—an outdoor learning center focused on science literacy at Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy in Columbus, Georgia—Lisa (Bell) Sitz employs three important tenets to grow young minds: "Rigor, Relevance and Relationships." Known for her energy, this educational horticulturist arrives early and stays late, consistently sowing the seeds of top-notch pedagogy.
(Bell) Sitz's novel classroom practices include a MicroSociety to help her third-graders learn about business and economics. She even uses Chia Pets, hypothesizing and measuring “hair” growth to help students visualize and understand the scientific method. Questions are always welcome in (Bell) Sitz's room. In fact, she works tirelessly to imbue a passion for inquiry in her kids that carries over year after year. She even supplies them with copious Post-It notes on which to make comments and pose queries. (How's that for getting knowledge to stick?)
Third-grade test scores outshine state averages — especially noteworthy given the school's higher-need population. All students passed the CRCT in 2011; all but one passed in 2012. To help them maintain their standing, (Bell) Sitz tutors all three-graders for the test after school.
A member of the district committee for curriculum mapping, (Bell) Sitz is also third-grade lead teacher. As an early adopter of new practices, she readily models them for colleagues and presents to parents. Recommended as a role model for other educators struggling with student engagement and achievement, (Bell) Sitz is being trained as a teacher support specialist for her school.
Dec 17, 2012