By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A Tupelo mother of three has been selected by Parenting Magazine to represent Mississippi at the publication’s 2012 Mom Congress on Education and Learning.
Andi Hildenbrand was selected by the national magazine in recognition for the work she has done in creating and staffing a science lab at Lawndale Elementary School. The science lab project was tied into her attendance at the Parents for Public Schools’ Parent Leadership Institute.
PPS nominated her for the honor. Delegates were chosen from all 50 states and from the District of Columbia.
“I’ve been really passionate about science education,” Hildenbrand said. “It is really neat to be recognized. None of that could happen in a school district that didn’t allow for creative parent involvement that enhances academics.
“It is great to represent Lawndale and Tupelo Public Schools.”
Hildenbrand receives an expense-paid trip to the third-annual conference, which will be held April 29-May 1 in Washington, D.C.
There she will connect with national leaders in education, Parenting editors and past Mom Congress delegates to exchange ideas on how to improve the nation’s schools. Among the attendees will be U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
“I hope I get to ask questions about funding for science education,” she said. “I really think that science funding is not what it should be.
“Statistics say that the number of kids studying science in college is declining, and I think it needs to start at the elementary level.”
The science lab is in its second year. Parent volunteers; including Hildenbrand, Martha Ann Wilson, Mandy Keith and Ragan Milner; teach hands-on lessons to the school’s third- to fifth-grade students.
“It has had a huge impact on our students’ science scores,” Lawndale Principal Brock English said. “Students are able to do a lot more hands-on learning due to the science lab, and that increases student engagement.”