Silverman named 2016 Innovation of Education Award winner   

Lower School Science Teacher Melissa Silverman was one of three teachers honored statewide with the Virginia Association of Independent Schools’ (VAIS) 2016 Innovation of Education Award. Silverman was awarded on Friday, Oct. 14 in Richmond at the VAIS 2016 Leading Learning Conference. 

With the theme of the conference, Seeding the Future, Growing Through Failure, the 2016 Innovation in Education Awards focused on educators who had demonstrated growth through failure in some aspect of their professional lives. Entrants had to demonstrate one of the following: turned student failure into success; sparked a passion for learning; helped support a student/colleague in crisis; or, embraced a new teaching methodology to promote student success.    

Silverman was awarded the Lower School Award for her efforts promoting student success through individual and small group tutoring at the Learning Resource Center. Additionally, she helped to create the Outdoor Learning Lab, in which Collegiate’s students grew a sustainable garden, built a chicken coop and hatched chickens from eggs to adults.  

The Outdoor Learning Lab opened in May 2016 and features 4 vegetable gardens, a green house, a flower garden and a chicken coop with five buff orpington hens. The students tend the outdoor spaces and donate a portion of the eggs and produce to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. 

“This outdoor Learning Lab allows our students to get their hands in the things that we are learning,” said Silverman. “We’ve done things such as plant growth, insect life cycle, soil conservation, erosion and more. Students are actually getting their hands on what we are learning in the classroom. The students have taken ownership of what we are doing out here. They own a plot. They own their vegetable. They are watching it grow and they are taking care of it.”