Lori Rice receives two awards at the Kansas Social Studies Conference
The annual Kansas Social Studies Conference was held in Emporia, Kansas this year, with the Sunday afternoon sessions culminating in an evening session in honor of six educators from around the state who were being recognized as Teacher of the Year award winners. Each of the four state organizations that support social sciences education; Kansas Council for the Social Studies, Kansas Geographic Alliance, Kansas Council for Economic Education, and Kansas Council for History Education, award teachers from their organization and nominate them for the overall Kansas Social Studies Teacher of the Year Award.
Judy Cromwell taught social studies in the Topeka area for over 38 years. She was a long-time member of KCSS and served on the board for 28 years. The Excellence in Teaching Award is named in her honor, and is intended to reward and encourage high quality instruction in the social studies for educators who are currently teaching social studies at least half-time and have three years teaching experience. This year, KCSS recognized Lori Rice as the elementary level winner of the Judy Cromwell Excellence in Teaching Award.
Lori Rice currently works at West Elementary in Wamego as a fourth grade teacher. While she is responsible for teaching all subjects, it has been her goal to “teach social studies standards even when these are often neglected due to mathematics and reading instruction taking priority.” Lori integrates the social studies curriculum into every aspect of her classroom, as described by her colleague Carolyn Hawkins, “her classroom management fosters her student’s development as both citizens and communicators. Her instruction has a profound impact on student learning through her use of materials, strategies, and utilization of standards, interrelated themes, and dimensions of inquiry concepts. All of this is possible with her dedication to her own professional involvement both in and outside of the school building.” But, Lori’s impact goes beyond the social studies curriculum, as explained by her principal and nominator Amy Flinn, “Ms. Rice also goes above and beyond the call of duty for the children in our district,” being involved with summer programs and several after school programs that focus on social skills and STEM. Lori has worked at the state level on the social studies standards and assessments committees, and has been an advocate for high-quality social studies instruction at the elementary level for years as a board member of the Kansas Council for the Social Studies.
Lori was also recognized, from the group of six organization award winners, as the 2018 Kansas Social Studies Teacher of the Year award winner. This recognition is given by the Kansas State Department of Education and is presented at the state conference by Don Gifford, the Educational Program Consultant for History, Government, and Social Studies. Lori was unanimously selected to receive this honor based on her exemplary teaching and outstanding support of social studies education.