Crafton teacher wins national honor
Susan Kosko, Title 1 Reading teacher at Crafton Elementary, has been named the 2016 Humane Teacher of the Year, Gold winner.
Mrs. Kosko was chosen for her commitment to humane education - by teaching kindness towards one another, animals and the environment. The national award is designed to honor a pre-K-12 classroom teacher who includes humane lessons in the curriculum or inspires students to act on behalf of animals in an effective and innovative manner.
Mrs. Kosko was recognized for her involvement with the Dolphin Project, the Reading with Rover program, habitat gardens and as an Audubon Society partner. The selection committee was impressed with the school's ability to document student improvement in reading fluency and writing skills over the course of these programs.
The Dolphin Project has become an effective teaching curriculum as students grow to love, learn, read and write about dolphins and other sea life through a collaboration with a team of marine biologists off the Gulf Coast of Florida. Students Skype weekly with the crew aboard a sea vessel to learn about dolphins, and a few years back, raised monies to rescue Seymour, a dolphin entangled in fishing line. The story was later captured and filmed by a crew from the ABC syndicated show, "Sea Rescue." (The photo above was taken during the filming of the show).
Another initiative, Reading with Rover, is a program that brings dogs and their owners into the classroom for read-aloud sessions. The activity has effectively motivated students to read.
"Mrs. Kosko's work serves as an example to all those in the teaching profession and we are excited to recognize her for her achievements in humane education," said Marsha Burleson, Crafton Elementary principal.
The Humane Society of the United States has given this award annually since 1981, recognizing outstanding teachers who consistently incorporate humane education into the curriculum and motivate students to get involved in community service for animals. The Society was particularly impressed by Mrs. Kosko's ability to touch on a wide range of issues affecting wildlife and pets by way of a reading program.
For her efforts, Mrs. Kosko will receive a scholarship to the Certified Humane Education Specialist credentialing program.