Robyn Newton emphasizes fitness, joy and lifelong learning for students

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Agency of Education today named Robyn Newton, a physical education teacher at Vergennes Union Elementary School, as Vermont’s 2023 Teacher of the Year. Newton will begin her tenure as Vermont’s Teacher of the Year on January 1, 2023.

Abbie Bowker, visual arts teacher at Champlain Valley Union High School, Amy Clapp, elementary teacher at Salisbury Community School, and Aziza Malik, elementary teacher at Champlain Elementary School, are also recognized.

Robyn Newton has been a physical education teacher at Vergennes Union Elementary School for 27 years. At UES Vergennes, Newton focuses on providing a joyful and educational physical education experience, and builds the skills and confidence needed for healthy development and lifelong fitness. Newton has established an interdisciplinary curriculum that connects students to their communities and builds on their learning in the classroom, on the playground and beyond.

“Robyn Newton exemplifies what makes Vermont educators special,” Education Secretary Dan French said. “From using the Olympics to teach students about sportsmanship, competition, global affairs and cross-cultural competence, to her efforts to bring more funding to physical education and nutrition programs in her district, Ms. Newton excels in teaching, demonstrates leadership through an interdisciplinary and collaborative mindset, and, most importantly, she inspires enthusiasm for learning in and out of the classroom.

Newton’s accomplishments at SIU include leading a multidisciplinary Olympics unit that touches every grade and subject at Addison County Elementary School. Each class chooses a country to represent and students learn about their country through reading, writing and math lessons. Prior to the games, students view videos of actual Olympic events, and in physical education they learn and practice related skills. Each student chooses four events to participate in.

As Newton wrote in her application for Vermont’s Teacher of the Year, “There’s nothing better than watching classmates cheer each other on or hearing a younger student shout ‘I won” when he received his bronze medal… This unit embodies how and why I teach: to create enjoyable experiences that develop new skills, build confidence, and promote healthy movement and joy.

“Robyn understands the importance of opportunity,” said Vergennes Union Elementary School Principal Matt DeBlois. “The personalization of physical education allows students to understand that their own growth should not be compared to that of the person next to them, but rather to how individual students have performed in the past. PE students at VIEWS write goals for themselves, reflect on their learning in their PE journals, and attempt to beat their self-designed goals.

Newton’s leadership has extended to securing funding to expand his district’s physical education offerings in a game-changing way.

In 2008, she wrote and was awarded the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Fellowship for over $900,000. Among other programmatic updates, the district constructed three high ropes courses, including a high ropes course to improve social-emotional skills such as self-confidence, confidence and teamwork, and equipped each school with equipment to support life activities such as snowshoes, cross-country skis. , ice skates, inline skates, tennis equipment, disc golf course, indoor climbing walls, exercise bikes, ellipticals, treadmills and heart rate monitors.

“Robyn is an amazing educator,” said Addison Northwest School District Superintendent Sheila Soule. “Her commitment to the health and well-being of others extends far beyond the classroom – Robyn has had a remarkable impact on the entire community through her work on the Vergennes Recreation Committee and District Wellness Team. She inspires others with her positivity and optimism. She is so deserving of this recognition and we couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments.”

As Vermont’s Teacher of the Year, Newton will emphasize the importance of physical activity, fitness, and play to both student learning and academic success, and for their socio-emotional well-being. Its platform is based on research that shows that students do better academically, both when they are fit, healthy and active, and when they have the opportunity to play in unstructured ways. during the school day.

This “brain break” allows students to synthesize what they have learned and return to class refreshed. Physical activity and adequate play make students more creative, independent thinkers and learners, and happier overall. As Vermont schools recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, high-quality physical education and opportunities for unstructured play and “brain breaks” are critical to student success and well-being.

About the Teacher of the Year Program

Since 1964, the Education Agency has recognized outstanding Vermont teachers through the Vermont Teacher of the Year award. As Vermont’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, Ms. Newton will serve as an advocate for the teaching profession, education and students. She is also a Vermont nominee for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year Award, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Ms Newton will represent Vermont next spring for the National Teacher of the Year program, usually held in Washington DC

Robyn Newton will also be honored on the University of Vermont’s Outstanding Teachers’ Day, to be held in November. For 40 years, UVM has annually recognized outstanding teachers across the state. The event honors educators from each supervisory union or school district, who are invited to nominate one teacher at the elementary or middle school level, one at the high school level and one at the technical center level.

About the Vermont Agency for Education

The Education Agency implements state and federal laws, policies, and regulations to ensure all Vermont learners have equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities. The Agency accomplishes this mission by providing leadership, support, and oversight of Vermont’s public education system.

VERGENNES, Vt. – The Vermont Agency for Education the Web.