2018 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in Science Education
Carrie Jenkins is a 7th grade science and honors science teacher at Sinagua Middle School. She is recognized for the exceptional work of her honors class, and for her efforts to engage students in science education in and out of the classroom.
Through the Scientists in the Classroom program, started by Jillian Worssam, Carrie’s honors students are each paired with a professional scientist mentor to work with throughout the school year. This mentorship program allows one-on-one time with a scientist working actively in the community. Students get to see how science is applied in the real world, and learn from professionals who are doing real work. The program includes monthly communications with a mentor to discuss their particular field of work, classroom presentations about said field of work, and final projects that are chosen with input from a student’s mentor.
In October, 2017, Carrie was featured on NAZ Today in their “teacher of the week” segment. The story was about her leadership and involvement in the creation of an outdoor classroom and pollinator garden at Sinagua Middle School. The outdoor classroom and educational gardens provide a space for students to conduct experiments outside of the classroom and work with living plants and animals. Science teachers have the ability to utilize the space to teach a hands-on curriculum incorporating place-based learning and topics such as native plant species, pollinators, and composting. The Mustang Outdoor Classroom & Garden is available for all classes at Sinagua Middle School in an effort to develop a sense of stewardship for the community and environment within each and every student.
In April, 2016, along with Rick Treadway (also from Sinagua) and with partial grant funding from the Pathways to Engineering Program, Carrie helped organize a field trip to study the water quality of Slide Rock State Park. The trip was part of Water Sample Week, hosted by the Oak Creek Watershed Council, the University of Arizona and One for Verde. The trip provided a unique opportunity for students to do work in the field and study an important issue close to home.
In 2015, Carrie was named as a finalist by the Rodel Foundation of Arizona. The foundation selects individuals each year to be Rodel Exemplary Teachers. Superintendents and principals from throughout the state are encouraged to nominate teachers who nominate extraordinary teachers who work with a high number of students from low income families, and Carrie was one of three teachers recognized from FUSD in 2015.