Madison Co. science teacher wins national award as she looks to make learning fun through exploration

09/22/2016 05:23 PM

RICHMOND – Vivian Bowles, a 4th-grade science teacher at Kit Carson Elementary in Richmond was one of 213 science and math teachers around the country to receive the honor of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching on September 8 in Washington, D.C.

Bowles initially was a social worker in Eastern Kentucky working with Head Start when she noticed many of the mothers of the children that she worked with were drop outs, because of bad experiences in school and did not have a lot of self-confidence.

At that point, Bowles wanted to make a difference and help people like the moms that she had met and decided to get her teaching certificate. Bowles felt that the key to teaching was to make learning fun and enjoyable.

Now in her 29th year as a teacher, Bowles uses innovative lesson plans for her students.

“Students need to be actively engaged in learning, it needs to be something that speaks to them,” Bowles said. “My big three, when I have student teachers is that it needs to be real world, it needs to be hands on, and you need to be able to give them immediate feedback.”

Bowles students tend to do a lot of exploration.

“There’s usually an engaged question or task, then we do an explore activity,” Bowles said. “It’s hands on.”

Bowles has won several awards the past few years.

In 2014, she was named the Kentucky Science Teachers Association Elementary Science Teacher of the Year. In 2016, she was named as the Kentucky Green and Healthy School (KGHS) Teacher of the Year for her work in maintaining Kit Carson as a KGHS school.

Bowles admits that she is very much out of her comfort zone with all of the recognition that she has received, but she admits that she is appreciative of the school community’s appreciation for winning the Presidential Award.

“The principal was very proud and when I found out that I’d received the award, I talked with him privately and said, now I don’t want a big deal about this, it’s just school as usual, but, he put a banner out front and I had a cake at a faculty meeting, and that was very nice,” Bowles said. “There was a lot of congratulations from my peers and that was very rewarding.”

Bowles was 1 of 4 Kentucky teachers to win the Presidential Award.

Other Kentuckians honored were Jefferson County’s Farmer Elementary School math teacher Gina Kimery, Boyd County High School science teacher Carly Baldwin, and North Bullitt High math teacher Christine Bickett.


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