Piccowaxen Educator Recognized for Promoting Citizenship in the Classroom

LA PLATA, Md. (June 17, 2011)—Leslie Johns, a social studies teacher at Piccowaxen Middle School, was recently honored by the Bel Alton Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post with the National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. The annual awards program recognizes teachers that promote civic responsibility and American history within the classroom.

Johns, who was nominated for the award by Piccowaxen staff, said she is honored by the recognition. “It is nice to be recognized for promoting citizenship and democratic values in the classroom. It is important that the students I teach understand the rights and responsibilities that come along with the privilege of being American citizens,” Johns said.

Johns has been teaching seventh grade world culture and geography classes at Piccowaxen for the past eight years. She was nominated for recognition for creating motivational and exciting lessons for her students and for seeking opportunities to bring world lessons into her classroom. “With genuine enthusiasm, Ms. Johns shows students the uniqueness of other cultures in hopes that children grow to better appreciate the United States concept of democracy,” Piccowaxen Vice Principal Laura Coffren said in a nomination letter.

Earlier this school year, Johns helped coordinate the Veterans Day ceremony held annually at Piccowaxen to honor veterans from the school community and regularly invites guest speakers into her classroom to discuss history with her students. Coffren said Johns is an ideal candidate for the award. “She promotes patriotism and civic responsibility through her teaching and her ability to connect students with their community,” she wrote in a nomination letter.

Johns was presented with the award by VFW Bel Alton Post Cmdr. Edward Holland during a ceremony held last month at the school. Award winners are initially selected by their local VFW chapter and are recognized at one of three levels – grades kindergarten through 5; grades sixth through eighth; and grades nine through twelve. All local winners are eligible for the district, state and national award.

For more information about the awards program, visit http://www.vfw.org/Community/Teacher-of-the-Year/.

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