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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

NSHSS IB Grant Recipients 2017

2017 NSHSS International Baccalaureate Diploma Educator Grant Recipients


NSHSS awarded ten International Baccalaureate educators with grants to be used for educational purposes in 2015, the inaugural year of the NSHSS International Baccalaureate Diploma Educator Grant. Since then, NSHSS has increased the number of educators receiving the IB Grant each year and awarded twenty IB educators in 2016 and 2017. To date, the IB Grant recipients represent twenty-three different states across the nation—as well as the United States Virgin Islands and Canada. The IB Grant recipients instruct an array of topics, including IB Chemistry, IB Computer Science, IB Film, IB French and Anthropology, IB Art, and IB Theory of Knowledge to name a few.


Please join us in recognizing this year’s twenty IB Grant recipients below!


Mircea Arsenie, IB Environmental Systems and Societies

Carl Schurz High School, Chicago, IL

According to Mr. Arsenie, “. . . the most effective lessons, the ones with long-term effects on the students, most often take place outside of these very walls while the students perform a skill, function, exercise and explore content and dare ask questions and form hypotheses about the world around us.” Mr. Arsenie will use his IB Grant to capture observational data by monitoring animals at a local zoo. Mr. Arsenie explains, “The students shine outside of our class as they engage in team building, self-learning and problem solving.”


Justin Barleben, IB Chemistry

Archbishop Walsh Academy, Olean, NY

Mr. Barleben plans to use his IB Grant to fund a trip for his physics students to go to the Darien Lake Park Math and Physics Day, which is an annual event that provides local students with real life experiences in physics that are difficult to achieve in the classroom. Mr. Barleben explains, “The hands-on approach to learning is the critical component of this experience, as it fulfills the IB recommendation that learning promotes the development of scientific inquiry.”


Kevin Behmer, IB Computer Science

Ann Arbor Huron High School, Ann Arbor, MI

Mr. Behmer’s school is in its first year as an IB World School. He explains that his school district will soon become the only district in North America offering the Career Pathways Program and IB courses in PreK-12th grade. Mr. Behmer is eager to extend his students’ learning beyond the classroom and will use his IB Grant to purchase class programming kits and field trips to local museums and universities to learn about computer science and engineering exhibits and programs.


Pamela Booth, IB Language and Literature

Walnut High School, Walnut, CA


Mrs. Booth writes, “I’d like to help my upper classmen hone their writing skills, specifically their grammar. The grammar publication, The Great Grammar Book: Mastering Grammar Usage and the Essentials of Composition by Marsh Sramek would greatly help in doing this since the diagnostic tests prescribe the areas of strength and weakness so that each student’s grammar lesson can be catered to improve his/her individual weaknesses.” Mrs. Booth looks forward to helping her students develop critical language and grammar skills that are essential in higher education.


Elizabeth Braganza, IB Language and Literature

Eastern Senior High School, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Braganza will use her IB Grant to purchase academic planners so that students may “record tasks and assignments, plan ahead for deadlines, and reflect upon performance.” She explains, “We believe that this physical agenda will not just ensure that they [students] stay on top of their tasks across their classes, but also will help them develop organizational skills that they can continue to use in college and the workplace.”


Michelle Collette, IB Film

Harding High School, Saint Paul, MN


Ms. Collette will purchase digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras with her IB Grant. She explains that familiarizing students with DSLR cameras gives them an advantage, as these cameras are often used by professional photographers, videographers, and filmmakers. Ms. Collette writes, “All of the student groups would be able to check cameras out and bring them home to finish filming. It would give me more instructional time as a teacher because we would finish production assignments faster. The students would be able to see more content and this would positively influence the students’ IB Film scores.”


Kimberly Dennis, IB Language and Literature

San Gabriel Mission High School, San Gabriel, CA

Ms. Dennis will use her IB Grant to fund a field trip to the Huntington Library and Museum in San Marino, CA. She plans to take her students to the exhibit and program known as the “Cross-Collections Experience” library program. Ms. Dennis explains that the trip will allow her students “to witness the relationship between the materials they learn in class and how it comes to life in context and in diverse academic areas.”


Aaron Greenall, IB Design Technology

St. Andrews School, Savannah, GA


Mr. Greenall plans to use his IB Grant “to provide materials, supplies and tools for Design Technology students to work with.” He writes, “The necessity of hands-on access to differing mediums, materials and tools for this coursework are of the utmost importance for maximum impact for my students.” Mr. Greenall will increase student engagement by fostering experiential learning.



Amber Greene, IB History

Westlake High School, Westlake, OH

Eleven percent of Ms. Greene’s students descend from the Middle East, Africa, and South America. She will redesign her Conquest and its Impact history courses to focus on these regions and “explore imperialism in various forms throughout history, discussing the political, economic, cultural, and psychological motives of the conquerors, as well as the cross-cultural impacts.” To compile supplementary materials for her courses, Ms. Greene has created her own catalog of primary and secondary sources.


Seth Guinals-Kupperman, IB Physics

The Brooklyn Latin School, Brooklyn, NY


Mr. Guinals-Kupperman will use his IB Grant to purchase two eight-person CASTLE (Capacitor-Aided System for Teaching and Learning Electricity) kits. He explains, “These kits will enable students to apply methods from various curriculum and pedagogical techniques.” He continues, “The physics of electronics is a future-proof area of study but also one with a great lack of hands-on material.” The equipment Mr. Guinals-Kupperman purchases will assist students across multiple grade levels within his school.


Lois Housler, IB Biology

Archbishop Walsh Academy, Olean, NY

Mrs. Housler details the essentialness of biology students learning via an experimental approach instead of solely lecture-based instruction. Her IB Grant will go toward a field trip for her students to visit Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle State Park on Lake Erie. The center’s mission is to foster outdoor environmental education for young people. Mrs. Housler writes, “The hands-on approach to learning is the critical component of this experience, as it fulfills the IB recommendation that learning promotes the development of scientific inquiry. While students do need to be able to follow directions and replicate procedures, they must also be provided with the opportunities for genuine, organic inquiry, which this program would provide.”


Euan Hunter, IB Chemistry

Vanguard High School, Ocala, FL

Mr. Hunter desires for his students “to be inspired by what they can do with chemistry; to motivate them in the short term for the chemistry examinations, the medium term by what they might want to study at college and then in the longer term, give them a head start on their college chemistry by preparing them for the techniques and equipment they will use.” He will use his IB Grant to purchase advanced glassware required to perform lab experiments. Mr. Hunter encourages independent student discovery, stating, “. . . this grant will allow us to replace key glassware that our IB students need for the course, which will allow me to be less didactic as a teacher because students will be doing the experiments rather than me demonstrating it.”


Danielle Michel, IB Theory of Knowledge

Archbishop Walsh Academy, Olean, New York

Mrs. Michel writes, “A recurring theme in this [IB Theory of Knowledge] course is to compare knowledge among and between individual cultures, and field trips to museums would help us to substantially enhance and develop this discussion.” Mrs. Michel’s school is located near the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, which is located on the Southern Tier reservation of the Seneca Nation of Indians. In addition to funding class field trips, the IB grant will also be used to purchase student texts, such as the Extended Essay Skills for Success and the Extended Essay Course Companion.


Tiffany Oliver, IB Biology

Robinson High School, Tampa, FL

Mrs. Oliver’s master’s degree in biology and countless years working as a marine biologist inclines her to cultivate a passion for both science and scientific research in her students. She explains that many of her students “are technologically inclined and work well with all forms of technology but are lacking some basic supplies to help push class further.” Mrs. Oliver will use her IB grant to purchase a 3D printer. She explains, “Being able to use a 3D printer would allow students to not only connect with the material in a personal way, but also deepen their own understanding of complex topics by designing and interacting with prototypes that incorporate their own creative twist.”


Candace Printz, IB Visual Arts

El Dorado High School, El Paso, TX

Ms. Printz will apply the IB Grant toward sponsoring student-presented workshops that educate adults and youth of the community about upcycling and transforming trash into artwork. Ms. Printz and her students aim to increase awareness about local nonprofit organizations and opportunities to participate in mile-long clean-ups in the community. Ms. Printz writes, “Leading and participating in projects like this challenge me to be a better teacher, to be more innovative, to work with the community, and to learn from my students.” She continues, “My hope is that this local project will ignite students to go beyond our community and come up with solutions to change their world. Any assistance that we could get to make this possible would be greatly appreciated.”


Margery Ricards, IB Extended Essay Coordinator/Librarian

Rio Mesa High School, Oxnard, CA


Serving as both a librarian and an IB Extended Essay Coordinator, Ms. Ricards will use the IB Grant “to serve students’ research needs through purchase of reliable, curriculum-aligned reference sources in digital format.” She writes, “Gale Engage is a highly-respected publisher in the academic field; each of the proposed E-book titles allow unlimited, universal access, and is a one-time purchase. Furthermore, the digital format of the content is highly serviceable, allowing students to highlight important ideas, terms and quotations, to add questions and comments on the articles, and to download and save the articles and their comments.”


Rachel Sawyer, IB Math Studies

East Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte, NC


Mrs. Sawyer teaches IB mathematics to students in grades 9-12. She will use the IB Grant to fund a class set of the Mathematical Studies Standard Level Exam Prep Guides to aid students in preparation for the IB exams. She explains, “The texts give students a basic summary of ‘what they need to know,’ exam tips and strategies, warnings/common errors, and practice questions for each of the topics.” The texts will also be used during mathematic boot camps that Mrs. Sawyer hosts before and after school.


Annette Spahr, IB Language and Literature

Harrisburg Academy, Wormleysburg, PA


Mrs. Spahr’s IB Grant will cover expenses related to travel and attendance to a “Shakespeare in Action Workshop,” presented by the Folger Shakespeare Library, in Washington D.C. Mrs. Spahr is confident that trip will provide an invaluable learning experience for her students and quotes the Folger Shakespeare Library educational department, “Shakespeare in Action workshops are interactive and lively learning programs that give students the opportunity to participate in our nationally-recognized active language learning techniques.”


Rebecca Tanaka, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator/IB French

Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy, Forest Park, IL


Mrs. Tanaka will use the IB Grant to create a language lab to be used by all of her school’s language educators and students. She explains, “In the lab, students will be able to listen to prompts and respond, to work in pairs on conversation skills, or to complete listening comprehension activities, as examples. Our students will begin developing their listening and speaking skills their freshmen year and will grow stronger with each year of continued use.” Mrs. Tanaka is eager to afford students “the opportunity to learn, grow, and connect as language learners.”


Lorie Xikes, IB Biology

Riverdale High School, Fort Myers, FL


Ms. Xikes’ IB Grant will fund the purchase of “two microcentrifuges and one adjustable volume micropipette from Flinn Corporation.” She writes, “. . . adding the capacity to spin samples and transfer liquid could underlie sophisticated student investigations, expanding the possibilities for student internal assessments.” The purchased equipment will be used by both micro biology/biotechnology labs. Ms. Xikes explains, “These purchases will extend the lab opportunities open to my IB students, allowing a much broader array of experimentation.”