Panama City Beach - This week's Golden Apple award winner teaches 7th grade civics at Breakfast Point Academy on Panama City Beach. Alana Simmons is passionate about helping her students become informed future voters.
They can't vote in this year's election, but 7th grade Civics teacher Alana Simmons wants her students to be ready to head to the polls once they hit 18. "I'm glad that we have shifted our social studies curriculum toward civics because it engages them. Our main priority in education is to make informed citizens and that is what our focus is," said Ms. Simmons.
Colleagues say she has a knack for making any topic engaging, especially politics and government. And with the presidential election just around the corner, the lessons couldn't be more relevant. "We are looking back at a lot of the people who inspired the way America's government works," said 7th grader Jacob Cornell. "She is a master at student engagement," said Assistant Principal Keri Weatherly. "From having kids debate and blog about the presidential debate to creating their own political advertisements," said Weatherly. "She makes us feel so comfortable and like we are learning something. We are not just sitting there like "Oh great, here is another lesson." We are learning it and we are having fun with it," said 7th grader Kiana Polanin. Kiana nominated Ms. Simmons for the Golden Apple.
Breakfast Point's middle school wing is brand new and colleagues say Ms. Simmons' previous experience and leadership has helped build the program. '"She is able to pull on those experiences from other schools as far as working with middle school students, as well as with other teachers in our middle school wing, some of whom have been elementary school teachers until this year," said Mrs. Weatherly.
Congratulations to Ms. Simmons, this week's Golden Apple award winning teacher. "She loves all of us so much and we love her. I am so happy that she won," said Kiana.