Reeda Hart has worked at the Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) in Highland Heights for the past seven years. Before that, she was an elementary school teacher for 27 years.
In her current role as science outreach specialist with NKU, Reeda takes PLT into classrooms in six school systems, integrating the environment into academic lessons and modeling teaching practices for teachers. She has created units on topics ranging from water to energy to life cycles, using PLT as a foundation to provide interactive content that supplements the teaching of core subjects, methods for elaboration, and assessment tools. Over a three-year period during which she worked with six schools, the schools’ Academic Index scores rose significantly. Reeda also helps the schools design and develop outdoor classrooms, emphasizing PLT training for teachers to ensure the spaces are used as effective teaching tools.
Reeda notes, “if we multiply the number of teachers by the number of students they reach each year, times the number of years they teach, it tells us how powerful it is to be a facilitator.”
Reeda also helped develop PLT’s new Early Childhood program, which was launched nationally this year. This curriculum resource, designed specifically for early childhood educators, uses developmentally appropriate techniques for connecting young students to nature. With Reeda’s assistance, NKU is beginning an Early Childhood Alliance to provide PLT training to local preschool teachers.
“Her enthusiasm and positive attitude toward science has spread to others. Students know she makes learning fun, and parents, the school nurse, janitors and other Grant County employees have been found ‘sneaking in’ to hear her lessons, too.”
– Teacher colleagues, Dry Ridge Elementary School, Dry Ridge, Kentucky
Reeda was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2010.