DMPS Educator Selected for Summer Study of Environmental Issues

Cindy Snell, Animal Science and Agriculture teacher at Central Campus, will have the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica this summer to study environmental issues after receiving the 2010 Toyota International Teacher Program recognition.

Twenty-six U.S. teachers will travel to Costa Rica from June 18 – July 3, 2010 to study global conservation issues. Participants will collaborate with Costa Rican educators to develop curriculum projects that foster an understanding about environmental and global issues. While in Costa Rica, a country dedicated to protecting its natural resources, participants will exchange ideas with area experts about sustainable development, agronomy, ecotourism and other conservation practices.  

As the teachers explore Costa Rica, they’ll be able to stay in touch with their students and colleagues in the U.S. through the wiki. Designed to serve as a virtual classroom and facilitate distance learning, this social media tool enables teachers to communicate their experiences in real time with their schools and communities. Educators will blog about their Costa Rica experiences, post photos and lesson plans and correspond with their students.  

The 26 participating teachers were chosen through a competitive, merit-based process administered by the Institute of International Education, the nation’s most experienced nonprofit educational exchange organization. Selection criteria include professional qualifications, evidence of interest in international education, and feasibility of incorporating the environmental study experience into the curriculum

Snell has been teaching science in Des Moines Public Schools for 15 years.

“Cindy Snell is a very deserving recipient of the 2010 Toyota International Teacher Program because she has a vested interest in community service and instructs world-wide environmental issues to students through a project-based approach to learning,” said Dr. Gary McClanahan, Central Campus principal. “Cindy works with students on global conservation issues with the goal of educating everyone she meets about the importance of environmental stewardship.” 

Toyota is continuing its legacy of promoting environmental education in schools and communities through the Toyota International Teacher Program.