Barbara Lewis, whose students have gained national notoriety for the quality of their environmental programs, has been named one of five top teachers in the country.
She earlier had been among 20 semifinalists in the Professional Best program sponsored by Oldsmobile, Michigan State University and Learning Magazine. As one of the five top teachers in the group, she has won an Oldsmobile automobile and been honored during an awards banquet in Detroit, Mich.Lewis, who teaches a program for gifted and talented students at Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake District, said, "My main goal in education is to teach children to think and to solve problems so they can function effectively in society. I believe in transferring basic skills and thinking into the real world by allowing children to brainstorm real solutions to real problems."
Her students have been involved in the cleanup of a neighborhood hazardous waste site and the planting of trees throughout the state, among other projects. They learn to present their case to Utah's Legislature and to other government officials.
The 20 semifinalists in the awards program will be featured in the October issue of Learning Magazine. The other four in the final group to be honored were from Chicago; Indianapolis; Fortuna, Calif.; and Nashville.