Congratulations to Michelle Pearson, Colorado's 2011 Teacher of the Year

With a little snow finally starting to fall around here, it’s time to go outside and play. So instead of any sort of grand analysis today, I just want to extend my congratulations to Michelle Pearson — who last week was named Colorado’s 2011 Teacher of the Year:

Pearson comes from a teaching family; both the maternal and paternal sides of her family had teachers in them, working in schools in the U.S. and Canada. She says her greatest accomplishments in education have not been what she’s done alone, but what students, families, colleagues and the community do together. Pearson believes standards are the key to teaching. She says in a true standards-based environment students should understand what they are learning, why they are learning it and be able to connect their work to their world.

Her belief in the importance of standards is exemplified by her recent service on the Colorado Department of Education’s social studies standards committee (along with my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow).

The statewide award is not the first public honor for the Hulstrom Options Magnet School social studies and language arts teacher. A few years ago Denver’s 9News honored Pearson with the monthly 9Teacher Who Cares award:

Through Michelle’s curriculum, students see connections between their work in the classroom and how it relates to the betterment of the world outside their class. “It’s the kids that really are creating the cultural tapestry of what we will know as America.” Michelle said. “By allowing them some of these extra things that we’re doing, it makes history real to them.”

Michelle is known to have a very hands-on teaching style. “Put the learning in their hands, that’s really how I teach,” said Michelle. The kids love it.” It’s just really fun coming to her class because you got lots of hands-on activities like the artifacts she brings in,” said student Darius Ortega.

An important reminder that quality teaching matters a lot to the success of students. Congratulations to Michelle Pearson, Colorado’s 2011 Teacher of the Year.