Innovation in Education Award

The 2019 Innovation in Education Award was presented to Baldwin Middle School Teacher, Abby VanMalsen.

Abby invented the Secret Agent Kindness Project which was designed to help middle school students connect with and care for each other. Students drew a name out of a hat and then took action — baking cookies, walking each other to class, eating lunch together. Abby noticed that even after the initial act of kindness, the positive actions and attitudes did not go away.

This project tied in with the middle school English curriculum as students also composed a perspective writing piece. Students detailed the acts of kindness they performed and how they felt; they also wrote about what it might have felt like to be in their classmate’s shoes — how a small thing might have brightened someone else’s day.

Through the Secret Agent Kindness Project, students improved their writing skills and also built empathy and gained perspective. Well done, Abby and Baldwin Middle Street students!

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Meet Our Past Award Recipients 

2019 Innovation in Education Awardee: Abby VanMalsen (Baldwin Street Middle School)

2018 Innovation in Education Awardees: Maggie Bandstra & Celine Nienhouse (South Elementary)

2017 Innovation in Education Awardee: Josette Brouwer (Georgetown Elementary)

2016 Innovation in Education Awardee: Rob Thurkettle (Georgetown Elementary)

2015 Innovation in Education Awardee: Matt Richardson (Baldwin Street Middle School)

2014 Innovation in Education Awardee: JoAnn Smit (Riley Street Middle School)

2013 Innovation in Education Awardees: Dorothy Groetnhuis & Lois Atkins (Riley Street Middle School)

2012 Innovation in Education Awardees: Diana Bast (Georgetown Elementary)