Local teacher awarded Milken award
South Florence math teacher Lindsey Bibler had a big surprise when State Superintendent of Education Molly M. Spearman came to Florence to present her the Milken Educator Award during a school assembly of Feb. 9. Spearman described this honor as an “Oscars of Teaching” award. It came with a $25,000 check from the Milken Family Foundation. Bibler teaches mathematics at South Florence High School to students in grades 10-12. “I am so proud of Lindsey Bibler and the devotion she exhibits every day to the students and community in Florence,” said Spearman.
“She is truly deserving of this great honor and will stand as a shining example for educators across our state. I want to thank the Milken Family Foundation for their hard work recognizing educators like Lindsey across the country. I am appreciative of our strong partnership and look forward to future collaboration to honor other outstanding South Carolina educators,” concluded Spearman. “Lindsey Bibler’s love of math is infectious,” said Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards. “She has a gift of reaching students at all levels, making herself available morning, noon and night to coach them to mastery. We’re thrilled to honor her work with a Milken Educator Award and look forward to following her bright future in education,” concluded Foley.
Bibler is the high school math department chair and goes the extra mile to ensure that her students excel. As an alumna of South Florence High School, Bibler graduated as valedictorian and came back to the school as a student teacher, then as a permanent staff member. She is now known as a leader and trusted mentor to students and teachers alike. Bibler teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus, Pre-Calculus and Differential Calculus, adjusting her teaching methods to meet the needs of students at all levels, from gifted to low-performers. Bibler leads discussions as a cognitive coach, encouraging students to dig deeper and aim higher.
Students ask questions, collaborate with their peers and continually reflect on their learning. She is available outside class hours to provide additional help, tutoring before school, after school, during planning periods and on weekends. Her class website also features videos, notes, and other resources. The passion Bibler ignites in her students is reflected in their learning gains.
They attained a 100 percent passage rate on the AP Calculus AB exam in 2014. After a decade of the school not offering Calculus BC, Bibler not only generated enough interest to bring the class back in 2014, but also achieved a 79 percent passage rate from her students that first year. Bibler has seen other increases in student achievement throughout her career at South Florence High. When she taught algebra in 2009, for example, students received a passage rate of 86 percent, which was significantly above school, district, and state averages. The passage rate grew into the nineties in subsequent years.
The same trend held true for her Calculus AB class; 67 percent of students passed the AP exam during Bibler’s first year of teaching, then achieved 100 percent passage rates in the second and third years. Bibler has also helped students with learning disabilities pass end-of-course exams as well as the High School Assessment Program (HSAP), when the requirement was in effect. Beyond the classroom, Bibler mentors other teachers and helps drive curriculum and instruction for the school.
A strong proponent of technology in the classroom, she has trained colleagues and collaborated on a successful $20,000 grant for TI-Nspire calculators. She has presented at the South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics, participated in a parent session on state standards, and brings knowledge back from professional workshops. First in her family to graduate college, Bibler earned a bachelor of science in math and a teaching certification from Francis Marion University in 2008 and a master of education in educational technology from Lesley University in 2010. The Milken Educator Awards has been called the Oscars of “Teaching by Teacher” magazine.