Thursday, June 16, 2016

Highlands Teacher Wins An Award Of Distinction

Karen Kampschmidt. FTM file

"We need to celebrate those who teach with love, and one of those teachers is in Fort Thomas," said Maria Alcón-Heraux, College Board Director of Media Relations.

Karen Kampschmidt, who teaches sixth grade English Language Arts and heads the English Department at Highlands Middle School has been chosen as one of four winners nationwide of the "Springboard Teacher of Distinction Award" this year by the College Board.

The SpringBoard Teacher of Distinction Award recognizes and celebrates exceptional educators for their excellence in conveying the core principles of the SpringBoard program. Through their instruction, these teachers have inspired a love for learning in their students and have become distinguished leaders in their schools.

SpringBoard is the College Board's print and digital program for all students in grades 6-12. It provides a customized pathway integrating rigorous instruction, performance-based assessment, and exemplary professional learning.


The College Board is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world's leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success - including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators, and schools

The SpringBoard Teacher of Distinction award recognizes and celebrates exceptional and passionate educators for their excellence in conveying the core principles of the SpringBoard program. Through their instruction, these teachers have inspired a love for learning in their students and have become distinguished leaders in their schools.

Ms. Kampschmidt who has taught all three middle school levels of the SpringBoard curriculum says her favorite unit is the one where they explore a novel.  "I love exploring themes with students, and getting them to think 'below the surface,' I love to listen to their reactions, observations, and connections to life they make while reading the novel," said Ms. Kampschmidt.

"I am proud of how far I have come with the Springboard curriculum. I've gone from, 'There's no way I can teach all of this!' and 'This is too hard for my students!' to 'I've got this down now,' and "Wow! Look at what they have accomplished!" said Ms. Kampschmidt.

Teachers had to complete a self-assessment, submit student work, a 20-40 minute video of classroom teaching, a letter of recommendation, and a phone interview with the SpringBoard evaluation committee.

These elements were assessed using SpringBoard's various success indicators to determine the winners.

Melissa Heinz, Associate Director of SpringBoard at the College Board, said, "It was illuminating to watch Ms. Kampschmidt's classroom and see how she engaged and interacted with students as learners while using technology and cutting edge tools to enhance instruction. This recognition speaks volumes to the teaching and learning excellence that takes place in her classroom."

Originally from New York State, Kampschmidt attended Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio and now resides in Cincinnati with her husband Kevin and their two sons, Reed and Drew.
She has been teaching Language Arts in Northern Kentucky for 16 years including four years at Calvary Christian School in Taylor Mill; eight years in Kenton County; and the last four years at Highlands Middle School.

"It is such a privilege to be able to teach in Fort Thomas. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to work with such incredible students, committed colleagues, and a supportive community, said Kampschmidt.

I am honored to receive the Teacher of Distinction award from the College Board. It represents my commitment to the rigorous Language Arts Springboard curriculum and the work that was done to transition to the digital format of the textbook. This honor allows me an opportunity to communicate with the College Board to give feedback on the benefits and drawbacks of the digital curriculum, with the ultimate goal of designing the best product for our students. I am also proud of the award because it represents a continuing desire that I have to get better at what I do. I'm very grateful to teach at Highlands, and I want to continually improve and do the best I can for the students."

"Teachers like Ms. Kampschmidt inspire the love of learning because they believe in the power of education. As the school year comes to a close, it's time to say show gratitude to the teachers who work hard to empower students to succeed," added Alcón-Heraux.

Congratulations, Ms. Kampschmidt!

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