|(VIRGINIA BEACH, Va — May 17, 2019) – Jared Fritzinger, an eighth grade teacher at Old Donation School in Virginia Beach, is a recipient of the |
nation’s 2019 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental
Educators. Presented by the White House Council on Environmental
Quality in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), this award recognizes outstanding kindergarten through 12th
grade teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental
education. Only up to two teachers from each of the EPA’s 10 regions are
A civics and economics teacher with Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) for eight years, Fritzinger has been working with students on a
traveling Eco Bus that is being created with repurposed materials.
Fritzinger’s approach on this student-centered, interdisciplinary sustainability project is to enable students to work together in a think
tank scenario. They also choose areas of growth which, along with
meticulous documentation of their work, comprises their grade.
“My students have consistently shown that they require challenges and
that these challenges have to give them autonomy, agency and
authenticity in order to secure their buy-in,” Fritzinger stated in his
application. Personalized learning opportunities for students is goal two
in Compass 2020, the school division’s strategic framework.
Fritzinger’ s teaching style garnered him national attention, including
serving as a presenter at the National Green Schools Conference, which inspired a university professor to fly to Virginia Beach to observe his
student-driven sustainability activities in order to incorporate design
thinking projects in an online graduate course. In 2015, he was one of 26
teachers selected nationally to be part of Arizona State University’s initial cohort of teacher leaders in sustainability. That same fall, he was asked to join a Missouri middle school on a trek along the Great Smokey Mountains National Park to integrate sustainability principles into their excursion.
As a school division, VBCPS is a recognized leader in sustainability,
teaching students about the interdependency of all systems in regards to social, economic and environmental impacts. The division’s
sustainability practices have also garnered VBCPS state and national
awards, including the 2018 Governor’s Award for Environmental
Excellence, the 2017 Green School division honor and the ENERGY Star
Partner of the Year distinction for two consecutive years. In 2020, VPCPS is launching an Environmental Studies program in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center.
Learn more about the Presidential Innovation Awards by visiting the
EPA’s website. Fritzinger is the third VBCPS educator since 2012 to receive this national award.
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