Jessica McCarthy, Kindergarten Teacher
, North Star Elementary School
Delaware Nature Society’s Outstanding Environmental Educator Award for 2017 was awarded to Jessica McCarthy, Kindergarten teacher at North Star Elementary School in Hockessin, Delaware, part of the Red Clay Consolidated School District.
Jessica is highly regarded by her peers and the school administration as a talented educator, early childhood specialist and a school leader. In addition to her outstanding work in the classroom, Jessica is also recognized for her passion for nature and her desire to instill respect and a sense of wonder for the natural world in her students.
Jessica goes to great lengths to get her students outside the classroom to experience the environment first-hand. Students engage in researching, observing and recording the plants and animals around the school as inspiration for lessons Jessica implements that integrate language arts, math and science. These efforts do not stop with her classroom of students.
Jessica led the charge at North Star Elementary for the planning, design and installation of a very impressive outdoor classroom. Even the planning for the space was an educational opportunity and cooperative effort as Jessica coordinated joint research projects with other classrooms and grades throughout the building to prepare and present a proposal of their vision for the outdoor classroom to the school administration and PTA. Upon approval of the plan, Jessica continued to dedicate extensive time and energy to implement the project which now serves as a tremendous resource for the entire North Star Community. Jessica mentors colleagues in the building to successfully and sustainably utilize the space and helps provide resources and lessons to help other teachers. She also co-chairs the school’s Outdoor Classroom Committee to help ensure the space continues to thrive and grow.
Jessica’s energy and enthusiasm for connecting students with the natural world and her dedication to instilling understanding and respect for the environment demonstrates that she is truly one of Delaware’s extraordinary teachers. It is my pleasure to recognize Jessica with this year’s Outstanding Environmental Educator Award.