Madison Simis Elementary School’s International Baccalaureate Program took home not one, but TWO awards from the Arizona International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools Association. Simis teacher, Julia Hubbs, was named the Arizona IB Primary Years Programme Teacher of the Year. Her former student, Sophie Garcia, is the 2019 recipient of the Arizona IB Primary Years Programme Student of the Year award during her time as a fourth-grade student at Simis Elementary.
“Being a teacher at an IB world school requires dedication and the ability to demonstrate attributes such as being open-minded and an inquirer,” shared Madison Simis IB Coordinator Melissa Powers. “Julia Hubbs is that type of teacher. We are proud to have her as a teacher in our IB World School because she truly believes in each child’s ability to think and have ownership in their learning.”
Through the IB curriculum at the Madison School District, students become independent learners capable of in-depth research, report writing, and taking action. Students inquire within the six IB transdisciplinary themes to become internationally minded.
“It feels so amazing to be honored for this award,” said Hubbs, who has 16 years of teaching experience, six of which is at Simis. “It didn’t just happen last year. This was 16 years in the making so I feel incredibly blown away by all the recognition.”
Hubbs said she found her niche with the IB program because it gives both the teacher and student voice and agency to make choices in their learning.
“The IB program is so amazing because it’s a combination of teaching on a global scale through inquiry, incorporating character education, and practicing 21st century skills like research and cooperative work,” Hubbs said. “I try to incorporate this every day in my classroom. This year I’m focusing on questioning because we’re always wondering and learning. It’s continually an adventure in the classroom.”
Madison student Sophie Garcia was extremely excited to hear that her hard work and dedication to “The Cleaning Committee” was being recognized. Garcia and her friends started TCC to keep the school campus clean. Kids could participate with their friends and work together during their social time to help clean up campus.
“I am honored to receive the award and excited to tell my classmates who were involved with the club last year that the TCC was being given an opportunity to be recognized on another level outside of the Simis campus,” Sophie said. “I am excited at the opportunity to be recognized in front of a group of people who are important to my community, and the plaque with my name on it is just icing on the cake.”
Melissa Powers added, “Sophie Garcia is one of the sweetest students you can meet. Because of her great empathy for others and her world, she helped organize a wonderful club at Simis which helped her win PYP student of the year. We are proud of her hard work, dedication and caring heart.”
The Garcia family said Hubbs absolutely deserved the Teacher of the Year Award.
“Ms. Hubbs is an incredible mentor with a huge heart that resonates with the kids that are lucky enough to have her as a teacher,” the Garcia family said. “We are so lucky that Sophie had the opportunity to be a part of Ms. Hubbs’ classroom, and the amount of appreciation that our family (and the Madison Simis Family) have for her is endless.”
Sophie, now in fifth grade at Madison Meadows Middle School, aspires to one day be a digital animator, creating digital animated videos/movies.
Hubbs said as a teacher, she lives by the philosophy to “ignite curiosity, don’t extinguish it.”