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Newport Teacher Wins VFW Citizenship Education Award

A Newport educator was awarded the Smart/Maher Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Citizenship Education Teacher Award from the John R. Little VFW Post #3186 in Southgate.

Amanda Barbour, a behavioral intervention teacher at Newport Primary School, was honored "in recognition for promoting citizenship education in your classroom and your school".

Barbour is also being honored as the district winner.    

Molly Wesley, the family resource center coordinator at Newport Primary School (NPS), nominated Barbour for the National Citizenship Award, which recognizes excellence in promoting good citizenship, community involvement, innovation, an ability to identify and utilize resources and passion for the profession. 

"This award means the progress we are making at NPS is being seen," Barbour said. "The culture has been a focus of NPS for the past few years. We have been fortunate enough to have received professional development in trauma and teaching in poverty at NPS. We have focused on the function of the behavior of our students and not the punishment. The award is validation of the direction we as a staff are moving in at NPS." 

"I look forward to watching other worthy NPS teachers receive this award in the future," she said. 

Barbour has been with the Newport Independent School District since 2013. In addition to her behavioral intervention role, she has been teaching second grade this year due to the reduced class sizes brought on by the COVID pandemic social distancing guidelines. 

"Mandy is an amazing teacher," said Newport Primary School Principal Matt Atkins. "She is always willing to do whatever it takes to support her students. This school year she has made countless home visits to deliver school supplies, help fix student technology, and provide instruction at home. " 

"Most importantly," Atkins said, "she has built strong relationships with her students, colleagues, and families." 

Barbour said she has enjoyed teaching second graders this year "and getting to see their personalities grow along with their knowledge". 

She said her role as Behavior Intervention Teacher has evolved since she first started with the District. 

"In the beginning I was responding to behaviors," Barbour said. "As a school we have been able to move this role to a preventative strategy. This year the intention was for NPS to include Social Emotional Learning in the special area rotation, but the pandemic has affected this plan. The plan for next year is to include social emotional learning and continue a trauma informed approach to understanding behavior." 

-Staff report