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Out of 8,000 nominees, Jennie Warmouth, Edmonds EA member, was honored as a Top 50 finalist for the 2022 Global Teacher Prize. As one of only 6 U.S. teachers to be selected, the Spruce Elementary teacher is “thrilled to be folded into such an inspiring network of international educators” and looks forward to the innovative ways her cohort will collaborate to amplify their impact as award-winning educators.
The Global Teacher Prize, presented by the Varkey Foundation in partnership with UNESCO, recognizes one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession. While only one educator can be selected for the top prize, the foundation uplifts the Top 50 Teachers’ stories and educational impacts, to illustrate the exceptional work of millions of teachers worldwide.
Holding a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology: Human Development and Cognition, Warmouth hopes to use her platform to shine a spotlight on the importance of social and emotional learning. Her expertise is in how children develop empathy. “A guiding principle in my classroom is the acknowledgement of interconnections,” she says. “We seek to illuminate the connections between people, animals, and systems worldwide.”
Through her platform, Warmouth’s message for her students, fellow educators, and decision-makers/leaders is to prioritize the health of our planet. “I often think about Baba Dioum's quote, ‘In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught,’” she says. “We all have a critical role in helping to develop the next generation of environmental stewards and far-reaching decision makers.”
When asked what a global classroom means to her, Warmouth had this to say, “A global classroom is one in which students are encouraged to investigate not only their immediate environment, but also the greater community and the world at large.” Spruce Elementary serves roughly 600 students who speak 39 different world languages. “My students’ own lived experiences, community and cultural perspectives, and familial funds of knowledge are central to our classroom discourse and meaning-making,” she says. “Together we examine the spatial, cultural, political, economic, historical, geological, and ecological factors impacting the world that we all share.”
Outside of the classroom, Warmouth is most inspired by nature. “When not teaching, I enjoy traveling, running, and serving on the Board of Directors at PAWS: Progressive Animal Welfare Society.” It is this interest that provided the foundation for one of her classroom projects, a community-based writing curricula that I pioneered, now in its 17th consecutive year of implementation.
“Through this project,” Warmouth explains, “I teach my young students how to apply their emerging literacy and communication skills to process the local animal shelter’s veterinary records, behavioral notes, and ecological information to craft written descriptions for one ’difficult to place‘ dog or cat awaiting adoption each week. Their final drafts are published on the shelter’s website for a real-world audience. For most of my students, this is a first opportunity to improve the life condition of another being.” Approximately 800 children have participated in this community-centered humane education writing project and 600 dogs and cats have been successfully rehomed as a result.
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