Vernon Geo Champ Headed for NYS Bee
Vernon Geo Bee Champ Cole Meyer with Vernon School Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio, sixth-grade teacher Mr. John Youngs and K-12 Social Studies Supervisor Mr. Joseph Pesqueira.
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Cole is the first student from the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District to advance to the state competition after the Geo Bee was introduced by K-12 Social Studies Supervisor Mr. Joseph Pesqueira three years ago to enhance learning at the sixth-grade level.
If Cole becomes a state champion, he will receive a medal, $1,000 in cash and other prizes, as well as a trip to Washington D.C. to represent New York State in the national competition, May 19-22. Students that place second and third in the state competition will receive cash awards of $300 and $100, respectively. Winners of each state championship will advance to the national championship with the opportunity to win thousands in cash awards and college scholarships.
Mr. Pesqueira, sixth-grade teacher Mr. John Youngs, who conducted the school geography bee with Mr. Pesqueira, and Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio applauded Cole’s achievement.
“We are all extremely proud of Cole for making history as the first student to compete at the state-level bee,” Mr. Pesqueira said. “We know that he will represent our District well and we wish him the best of luck as he moves forward in the competition.”
Visit www.natgeobee.org for more information on the National Geographic GeoBee. Follow the National competition at National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on May 19-22 at natgeoed.org/experiences.
Link Wins Outstanding S. S. Teacher Award
Oustanding Social Studies Teacher award winner Ms. Janet Link with Vernon School Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio and K-12 Social Studies Supervisor Mr. Joseph Pesqueira.
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Her principal, Dr. Valerie Vacchio, agrees. “Ms. Link has an unparalleled commitment to teaching. Under her tutelage, Ms. Link has provided students with rigorous learning experiences that have fostered collaboration, integrated technology, nurtured critical and creative thinking skills, and provided authentic platforms for public speaking and effective modes of communication,”
Dr. Vacchio wrote in her recommendation letter.
Ms. Link is credited for being an early adopter of the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework and incorporating inquiry modifications to ensure that students delve deep into important social studies topics. As a fourth-grade team leader, she is known for trailblazing new learning strategies in the classroom and sharing them with her colleagues.
“Ms. Link has merged many different resources together to ensure the social studies inquiries she uses in class are both rigorous and relevant, while at the same time suitable for students of all levels and backgrounds,” Mr. Pesqueira stated in his nomination letter, noting that she is “willing and excited” to share these strategies.
“Teaching social studies using the inquiry method has really changed learning for students and it renews and refreshes me when I see students get excited about social studies in ways that I never did when I was a kid in school,” said Ms. Link “It motivates me to keep learning and being the best version of myself and to continue to be a champion for elementary social studies education.”
Also a leader in technology for instruction, Ms. Link piloted the District’s first 1:1 Chromebook initiative at the fourth-grade level two years ago, allowing students to use digital platforms to research and explore information for their inquiry-based social studies projects. She continues to be a District leader as the initiative expands.
Ms. Link is an active member of the Long Island Council for Social Studies and the New York State Council for Social Studies (NYSCSS) and has presented a workshop on “Tailoring the New York State Social Studies Inquiries for All Learners” at conferences for both organizations. She also serves on the NYSCSS Curriculum and Assessment Committee.