The small community at Eagle Cove School was buzzing with excitement Wednesday morning, two days after their very own third grade educator was named Anne Arundel County Private School Teacher of the Year.
Vicki Dabrowka, a five-year teacher at Eagle Cove and 20-year veteran to the system, was honored Wednesday morning in front of the all the students and staff. She was presented with a County Council Citation from Councilman Derek Fink’s assistant Nancy Schrum.
“I feel like a rock star. I just want to thank you for being my school because that’s pretty fabulous,” said a beaming Dabrowka to all of the students and teachers that were present at the ceremony.
Students cheered and teachers applauded, and the tiny school of 61 students in total celebrated one of their most outstanding educators.
“Vicki is very creative and is always open to new ideas,” said Jane Pehlke, the Eagle Cove School's director of admissions. “Whatever she does, she does it 100 percent. She is a happy person and has happy children in her classroom.”
Dabrowka co-leads the school’s Green Team and is well known for her environmental initiatives throughout the school. Her third-grade students are actively involved in a recycling program, and Dabrowka herself is a member of the Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Educators.
Her passion for the environment is evident in her everyday lessons, and in the weekly blog she writes for Patch. But Dabrowka says it was Eagle Cove that inspired her Green passion from the very beginning.
“Coming into this school where we have recycle bins and compost and all of these different green elements—it creates a heavy environmental theme overall,” she said. “When you are doing those things every day in your classroom you start looking for ways to teach it to the kids.”
Along with her environmental lessons, Dabrowka heads the math department. In January, the entire school participated in very detailed math month activities. She also heads a program that has brought nine iPads to the elementary school.
The students use the iPads in scavenger hunts and other activities; and next year each fifth grade student will have their own iPad.
Despite its small population, Eagle Cove School presents a very homey environment where everyone is genuinely excited for each other. The students clapped for Dabrowka as she walked in from her car Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
“It was so neat,” Dabrowka said. “Everyone was full of hugs and excitement. It was very heartwarming.”
It may have been Dabrowka ‘s rigorous environmental activities, or her leadership with math month that helped her win Teacher of the Year, but it is obvious that she sees the accomplishment as something the whole school shares.
“My children go here, so Eagle Cove School is my family,” she said. “I have been at five schools and this is the most unique and cohesive group of educators I have ever worked with. We are a family. I was tickled pink that this award is something we all share together … I haven’t stopped smiling.”