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The VFW Awards Stone State Recognition

February 15, 2021 - Although patriotism and civic responsibility do not seem like regular lesson plans in sixth grade Math and Science, Baldwin Intermediate’s Ms. Elizabeth Stone does not shy away from opportunities to incorporate them in her classroom. As a former Social Studies teacher and Army wife, Stone takes pride in the freedoms associated with being American. She teaches her students to appreciate those rights and the importance of being well-informed. It is her dedication and enthusiasm that earned her the title of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Virginia Teacher of the Elizabeth Stone Year award for the junior high level.

Stone was nominated by retired teacher and Marine Corps veteran, Jerry Martin. As a long-term substitute with the division, Martin said he has had the chance to sit in on Ms. Stone’s classes. He described her teaching as both engaging and motivating.

“I have always believed the most meaningful evaluation of a teacher's capability is by their peers,” he said. “Ms. Stone's professionalism, imagination, and willingness to go above and beyond with her students was admired by her fellow teachers and her student's parents.”

A Virginia native, Stone has taught for 13 years; 12 of which have been with Manassas City Public Schools. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education, a business degree in Management and Organizational Development and her post-baccalaureate licensure from Eastern Mennonite University.

As a mother to two Navy veterans, Stone usually invites her sons to her class to discuss why they chose the military and the importance of K-12 education. Martin said her patriotism has been admired by other local veterans she has invited to her classroom to discuss their stories. Stone has also been involved in the local Vietnam War Commemoration Project, Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day activities.

Stone said she makes sure to provide opportunities for students to discuss the importance of days like Constitution Day and Veterans’ Day in her advisory class, with hopes to “instill a since of pride in both our country and those who have chosen to protect our freedoms.”

“I hope my students realize and understand just how unique our country is, and how blessed we are to be in a country in which individual freedom is protected,” she added.

Ms. Stone tells her students verifying information is crucial to their success and hopes to teach them to ask questions, voice their opinions and support their opinions with facts and reason.

“I try to provide students with the opportunities to see where biases and mis-information can lead a person to a wrong conclusion,” she explained. “I stress to my students to consider what the author is trying to convey, and whether it is fact, opinion or a combination.”

In order to keep students engaged during distance learning, Stone says she has embraced small groups and has allowed students to choose the format they prefer in order to show their understanding of different subject matter. The Baldwin Intermediate sixth grade science and math team are continually looking for creative ways to adapt lessons and materials, she added.

Stone said she was both surprised and honored by the news that she was selected as a winner of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Virginia Teacher of the Year award. The honor coincides with the VFW’s Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award program, which recognizes exceptional teachers who are committed to teaching their students about democratic values, civic responsibility and patriotism. A winner is chosen from each the elementary, middle and high school level within the state and then those winners compete for a national award.