What Could Be Better Than The #BammyAwards?

Roughly two weeks ago I was checking the updates section of my inbox from my phone and noticed a message from Rae Pica. The portion of the message I saw read:

“Jennifer L. Scheffer has been nominated for a Bam…”
“Congratulations, Jennifer L. Scheffer has been…”

I thought, “What…? Huh…?” I opened the email and continued reading.

“Congratulations, Jennifer L. Scheffer has been nominated for a Bammy Award in the category of School Technologist by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. 

Jonathan R. Werner submitted the following reason for making the nomination…”

Seriously??!!

I went on to read Jonathan’s thoughts on how I am making a difference at my school. It’s difficult to express how I felt at that moment. I was honored and flattered that Jonathan, who I met in person at Edcamp Maine in the fall of 2013, took the time to submit a nomination on my behalf but even more so than that, I felt a huge sense of pride; not proud because I was nominated, but proud to work in Burlington.

The Bammy website states that “It Takes a Village to Educate a Child”  that “teachers can’t do it alone and don’t do it alone” and promotes a “we not me” mindset which is so crucial in education. I definitely don’t do it alone. I’m part of an exceptional team of collaborators, contributors, and role models and we’re all making a difference in the lives of the students we work with every day. Burlington is filled with caring and supportive educators, administrators, and IT professionals. Everyone in my district is committed to doing what’s best for kids. Our students are provided with powerful tools (tech and non-tech) which allow them to create, collaborate, and communicate in authentic, meaningful ways. Administration and our IT department doesn’t block or ban social media, rather they advocate for k-12 digital citizenship education and model the appropriate use of current digital communication tools. As a Future Ready district, we’re committed to connecting and communicating with parents and engaging the community. We do this through leveraging blogs, classroom websites, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Parent Tech Nights. It’s a privilege to share our success, as well as our challenges, through my blog and the BHS Help Desk blog and I truly have the best job in the world.

My position of Mobile Learning Coach allows me to work with students daily, but I’m also able to collaborate with my colleagues on integrating technology in the classroom. Many teachers throughout the district are willing to take risks and try a new technology tool that will promote higher order thinking skills. Over the past two years, it’s been incredibly rewarding to see teachers thrive using some of the tools I’ve suggested including TouchCast, MoveNote, Kahoot, EduCannon, and this year in particular many teachers have experienced tremendous success with integrating Google Classroom for their digital workflow. Several teachers I’ve worked with have become so proficient at using various technology tools that I’m encouraging them to present at our annual BPS Con summer professional development conference. Mind you, these are folks who’ve told me, “I’m not a technology person.”

Since my nomination, many amazing members of my PLN have taken time to vote and write a review on my behalf. I am truly humbled and grateful for the kind words from my colleagues both in and outside of Burlington. But what prompted me to write this post is a review that was submitted by a former student. Being nominated for a Bammy Award is definitely a highlight of my career, but reading about the impact I had on Deanna’s life is the real reason I became an educator and why I am proud to work in this field. Here’s what she had to say:

“Mrs. Scheffer was my marketing teacher in high school and when I met her I was unsure what I wanted to do in life and headed down a wrong path. I met Mrs. Scheffer my junior year of high school and she took me under her wing and taught me how to be a young professional. She taught me everything I know about marketing and especially digital marketing. She has always been way ahead of everyone in teaching us the most relevant curriculum that not only allows us to succeed in the classroom, but material that allows her students to apply outside of the classroom as well. She conveyed to me the importance of having a professional presence online and how to do so. She was a role model to me and my entire class and because of her we are all growing and thriving at our universities and going above and beyond in our careers. She has truly made a difference in all of our lives and I am not sure where I would be without her today. She is my mentor in life and we share with each other our professional successes as well as failures. Whenever I need advice about something either professional or personal she is my go to and she has never failed to lead me in the right direction. Right now I am a young business professional working in my dream industry: Fashion in New York City. I attend a university where I am excelling in my bachelor’s degree program in Marketing. I was recently hired by my second internship and am now a Social Media Coordinator for a luxury fashion brand. This summer I have my third internship lined up at yet another well-known luxury fashion brand and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon because of the ambition and work ethic that Mrs. Scheffer has embedded in me. I owe my successes in my digital career to Mrs. Scheffer and I know that she is more than deserving of this award because she has molded me, her students and countless others around her into well-trained digital professionals.”

I’m sure many of you have similar emails or letters from former (and current) students and agree that knowing you impacted the life of a student may be even better than a Bammy. It’s a true honor to be recognized by a peer (thank you so much Jonathan for the nomination) but it’s an even bigger honor to influence the lives of students.

Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated in every category. Keep up the amazing work you do on behalf of kids!

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