Teacher Appreciation Week — Wall of Fame

Teacher Spotlight — Sean Splawski

When he was a kid, Sean Splawski didn’t like school.  He didn’t like sitting in desks, he didn’t like filling out worksheets, and he struggled to learn and pay attention when teachers lectured for too long.  Some called him “hyperactive.”  So it came as a surprise to...

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Teacher Spotlight — Eric Hale

Thanks to great teachers like Eric Hale, schools may be closed, but #EducationIsOpen Eric Hale is a teacher at Out Teach partner school William Barnett Elementary.  When Dallas schools re-open, he will be teaching a combined class of first and second graders. ...

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Teacher Spotlight — Melissa Amory

NO! Heck NO!  I Can’t Even… When Brookfield Elementary in Virginia closed in response to COVID-19, teachers were sent scrambling to help get students and their parents up on an online educational system. One by one, kindergarten teacher Melissa Amory helped parents...

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Angela McCarty – Longleaf Elementary

Angela McCarty achieves remarkable learning gains with her 700+ students every year by empowering an exceptional group of committed teachers who share the belief that all children can succeed, and then working with them to launch innovative initiatives. As an...

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Martha Brown – Denton Creek

It’s been three years since rockstar teacher Martha Brown’s beloved Denton Creek Elementary became an Out Teach partner school, and they’ve done amazing work in their Outdoor Learning Lab, which students have lovingly nicknamed the Trailblazer Discovery Trail.  In...

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Mr. Gillespie – Pace Academy

Mr. Gillespie, now deceased, taught high school English in the 90’s and was my best teacher ever. He loved everything William Faulkner (he even looked like him), ran 6 miles most days, and wouldn’t let students use any form of the verb “to be” in their writing. He...

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Rayanne Pirozzi – Lynbrook

After years of teaching, Rayanne Pirozzi started to feel burned out. As much as she loved working to make a difference in kids’ lives, she could feel the frustration seeping into her days at school. Looking for a way to get out of her rut, Rayanne turned to the...

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Sean Splawski – Mableton

Sean Splawski is a dedicated, motivated and passionate teacher. In fact, his name is synonymous with wonderment. There is never a dull moment when you step into Mr. Splawski’s K-5 STEAM Lab. Whether he is harvesting hundreds of sweet potatoes and making everything...

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Ms. Berry — Mitchell

Ms. Berry was instrumental to my daughter’s learning, wellbeing, confidence and overall love of reading. At the time, my daughter and I had walked away from an abusive relationship and our world was chaotic and incredibly trying. Mrs. Berry was caring and engaged my...

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Union Elementary Cohort

Our cohort at Union Elementary believes in the power of outdoor experiential learning! Ts Hill, Caines, Phillips, Burrows, Payne, and Jarzombeck develop lessons that drive critical thinking and promote SEL. The cohort is supported by Ms. Glasheen, who helps create and...

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Principal Belton – Paw Creek

Principal Belton at Paw Creek is a true leader that empowers her team to step outside of the classroom to increase student engagement, drive critical thinking, and provide unique learning experiences.

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Ms. Walker – Southside-Ashpole

Ms. Walker at Southside-Ashpole has a contagious enthusiasm for teaching and learning! Her students have adopted a large tree on campus as their outdoor experiential learning classroom!

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Ms. Catlin – Eno Valley

Ms. Catlin from Eno Valley is a great communicator, helps Ts use the outdoor space more effectively, and develops more outdoor learning spaces on her campus. She is a great advocate for outdoor learning!

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Mr. Crow – Governors Village STEM Academy

Mr. Crow at Governors Village STEM Academy is a great advocate for outdoor experiential learning. He spends hours in their outdoor classroom involving parents, community members, and students from the nearby high school. He also created a trail into the woods of for...

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Gwynns Falls Cohort

The Out Teach cohort at Gwynns Falls Elementary in Baltimore is passionate about providing an engaging learning experience for their students. Thank you for your dedication to including outdoor learning in your daily instruction!

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Montpelier Cohort

The hard work of the Out Teach cohort at Montpelier Elementary in Prince George’s County has not gone unnoticed! Thank you for your dedication to improving your practice to support student achievement.

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Garrison Cohort

Garrison elementary has such an inspirational group of teachers in their Out Teach cohort! Thank you for taking learning outdoors and making such a beautiful impact on your students’ lives.

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Brookfield Cohort

The Out Teach cohort at Brookfield Elementary had a great year of empowering and educating students. Thank you for taking learning outside and teaching students in such an engaging way!

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Patriece Hence – Brown Elementary

Ms. Hence of Brown Elementary promotes curiosity in her classroom. Her dedication to learning science and engineering practices is admirable. We provided support for her, but she was very supportive of us!

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Catherine Tommasello — Tritt

We learn so much from Catherine Tommasello at Tritt! Her differentiation of content is top notch. We’ve never seen kindergartners rotate through learning centers so efficiently. It’s been a pleasure coaching her!

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Lambert Bales – Norton Park

Lambert Bales of Norton Park ensures every student experiences hands-on learning regardless of their different learning needs. He facilitates student-led inquiry instead of giving answers directly. Thank you!

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Nicole Uqdah – Mt. Zion Elementary

Nicole Uqdah in is a very engaging teacher! Never a dull day in her class. We love visiting her classroom. She embraces her time with OT and is always grateful for our support. Thanks for all you do!

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Karen Carstens – Tritt

Principal Karen Carstens acknowledges the hard work of her amazing Ts. Every compliment, she immediately credits the Tritt STEAM teachers. Thank you for recognizing teachers throughout the year and not waiting until May!

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Shelbi Jones — Sanger Preparatory

Ms. Jones is an incredible teacher who inspires a love of learning and inquiry among her Gifted and Talented students. Ms. Jones’ class is an enrichment class and we weren’t sure how that would be addressed during this At-Home time. We were so delighted to...

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Jacqueline Rodriguez – L.L Hotchkiss Elementary

Mrs. Rodriguez has definitely embraced online learning and has made it fun for herself and the kids. She has an interactive online classroom and she’s part of the spirit committee and keeps the kids involved with our spirit week. The kids look forward to her class and...

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Hector Rivera — Sanger Preparatory School

Kudos to Mr. Rivera for making Math and Science lessons fun, interactive, and engaging from afar. Since we have been sheltered-in-place, he has gone above and beyond in teaching his lessons with Zoom and Loom. He has found such creative ways to present multiplication,...

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Sr. Pam Sanguinnet — Holy Name of Jesus Catholic School

Sr. Pam came straight out of the Catholic Handbook for Nuns. Tough and uncompromising. She demanded (and usually got) the best from her students, even if it was the 70’s and fear-based classroom management had not given way to cooperative learning. When she...

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Ms. Moore — John Ireland

“””I never realized I could make so many connections to writing outdoors”” Ms. Moore was thrilled to get her students outside and use nature as the inspiration to use descriptive words in their writing in 4th grade. She works tirelessly...

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Amanda Kane — Sanger Preparatory School

We have always considered Ms. Kane an outstanding teacher. The At-Home Learning situation has given us a closer look at how truly phenomenal she is in ensuring the academic success and emotional well-being of all her students. Ms. Kane has worked hard in developing...

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Damian Bautista — L.L.Hotchkiss

Mr. Damian Bautista has always gone over and beyond for the students that he serves. He led the students in a chess club, took them to tournaments during the weekend, all while teaching and ensuring students are meeting their goals. Covid-19 changed our way of...

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Makynna Cunniff — Midlothian ISD

There were two nominations for Ms. Cunniff “Ms. Cunniff is the best teacher because she gives us chances and she is nicer than all of the other teachers. She goes above and beyond to help us understand what we are learning and she lets us play while...

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Ms. Neel – Sudie Williams TAG

You want to see real transformation first hand – go to Sudie Williams and ask to sit in on Ms. Neel’s class. She is an amazing educator with a heart for kids and a passion for learning herself. “Hey since I can make it to your model lesson, I’m...

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Dr. Popa — Sudie Williams TAG

You want to see the practical application of knowledge and skills in a real world setting. Look no further than Dr. Popa’s 6th grade class at Sudie Williams TAG Academy. Good thing I forgot my lunch because students were building ovens and cooking hot dogs using...

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Mrs. Jones — HI Holland

They might be small – but they are mighty! Mrs. Jones reminds her students daily that they can achieve ANYTHING they put their mind to. I appreciate her hardwork and dedication to teaching and learning – she makes it fun.

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Ms. Soto – HI Holland

No one engages students in 5th grade writing and science the way Ms. Soto does. She is thoughtful in her planning and discussions with students. She loves to motivate them to do their best everyday.

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Ms. Gongora – Ebby Halliday

Kinder is such a critical year – it sets up a child for success. They will walk away life long learners or be disinterested in learning for life. I can tell you that in Ms. Gongora’s classroom they will have a love and passion for learning that goes beyond...

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Ms. Hernandez – HB Gonzalez

The minute she was off her “walker” after surgery – she was outside teaching kids. I have to give a shout out to Ms. Hernandez because even though she was limited in some aspects of our work – she delivered an amazing lesson on living and...

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Ms. Rentowski – HB Gonzalez

” Wow, I am so excited to try a lesson on angles out here” – she was hooked ever since. Ms. Rentowski is always willing to take risks and try new things, especially if it benefits kids. From the moment we met, I knew she was special and I was...

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Mr. Gutierrez — HB Gonzalez

Mr. Gutierrez was so excited by experiential learning outdoors – he invited a colleague to join him. In fact, together they developed a lesson on the Needs of Plants that can be found on our website. All 2nd graders had a chance to plant seeds and observe them...

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Ms. Gonzalez – John Ireland Elementary

“They were looking for evidence to support claims on the movement of water! I love teaching outside and the students love it too” Something happens when kids can put their hands on a difficult concept in the real world – it becomes tangible and...

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Samantha Hatfield — Cole Academy

Samantha goes above and beyond to make her students feel welcomed and accepted, no matter what! She understands the importance of a smiling face and the impact that she can have on her students lives for years to come.

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Dr. Katrina Macht – Hillside Intermediate School

More than 20 years ago, Dr. Katrina Macht showed me excellent teaching in action through outdoor learning, when I first visited Hillside Intermediate School in Bridgewater, New Jersey. To this day, she uses all the best practices to engage her students —...

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Fill out the nomination form here.

Join Out Teach in celebrating teachers who go above and beyond as part of our #EducationIsOpen campaign.  Nominate your favorite teacher here!  When you’re done, you can also make a donation in their honor here!  During #TeacherAppreciation week, your donation...

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María Neal — Sanger Preparatory School

Before COVID-19, we considered Mrs. Neal an amazing teacher. Now that we are in At-Home Learning situation, we see that she is more than just amazing, she is off-the-charts PHENOMENAL. To meet the needs of her students, Mrs. Neal created her own class website that...

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Elizabeth Armendariz — S.T.A.G. in Pleasant Grove

Lisa represents our staff’s ability to connect with students and families , especially during our At Home Learning, masterfully. She has gone out of her way to promote literature, poetry, outdoor experiences and social emotional learning throughout her virtual...

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Jonathan Cruz — S.T.A.G. in Pleasant Grove PTO

Jonathan is THE promoter for OUT TEACH on our campus. He always brings the Best attitude to campus and in turn motivates and inspires his students daily. He’s been such a promoter of dual language instruction within science and writing and even leads professional...

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Katherine Gann — Castleberry ISD

Mrs. Gann has always been amazing but especially so during this time of uncertainty. She has gone above and beyond creating meaningful lessons and I see growth in my kindergarten now just as I did before when they met as a class. She is kind-hearted , caring and well...

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Anna Wescott — Halverson Elementary

Mrs. Wescott is one of the most dedicated teachers I know. She is always learning and growing to become the best educator she can be for her students. She has a warm heart and a loving spirit, and she cares deeply for every child in her class. She is always willing to...

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Bob Fardy — Alcott Elementary

From writing and binding our own storybooks to writing and analyzing poetry, Bob Fardy sparked a lasting love of books and literature for all of his young students.  He told stories with a sort of calm energy that enthralled and transported his classes.  Going a step...

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Natasha Outlaw — Deer Park Middle Magnet School

Ms. Outlaw is the best teacher! Not only is she on top of her content and instruction, but she is our school’s go-to teacher for students to go to when they need a break from their classroom. She is compassionate, empathetic, caring, kind, and always expects the...

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Dr. Ted Miracle — Devonshire Elementary

Dr. Miracle has dedicated himself to inspiring the next generation children with content rich, hope filled lessons. While at Devonshire Elementary he over saw a BIG DIG. Now students have professional spaces for learning outside of the brick walls of the school....

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Kimberly Alvarez — Ebby Halliday Elementary

Ms. Alvarez teaches second grade at Ebby Halliday Elementary, and although she is in her second year – her instruction is as seamless as any veteran. She put in such hard work this year with me as her coach trying new and different instructional methods! A first timer...

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Andie Threatt — Solar Prep

The one person who Suzy Peacock, our founder would have envisioned when thinking of a person who brings vitality and creativity outdoors – Andie Threatt! In addition to bringing her own classes outside daily, she organizes community events at her Solar Prep...

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Principal Villarreal — Casey Elementary

From the first time I met Ms. Villarreal at our interview for the Out Teach build and train program I knew she was different.  She was one of those Principals that takes staff, student and community and the outdoor environment and packages it all together.  Its not...

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Rachel Brown – Harmony Science Academy

When I think of a person that brings their local community together for the good of their school I think of Rachel Brown. In addition to bringing her own classes outside daily, she organizes community events at her Harmony Science Academy Campus in Forth Worth. ...

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Katie Benningfield — S.T.A.G. in Pleasant Grove

Katie has demonstrated consistently quality leadership characteristics that the Mayor would want at the forefront of his council. Katie Benningfield has demonstrated a profound ability to lead others within our campus as well as teachers outside of campus, in our...

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Kassandra Dena — S.T.A.G. in Pleasant Grove

Kassandra Dena goes above and beyond her call of duty for her students. She is a firm believer that what she does impacts lives. She meets with her students off-line to provide motivation and coaching. She coaches her students in academic competitions, athletic...

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SELA PCS

Thank you for creating such a positive learning environment and for being such excellent educators.

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Leckie Cohort

Thank you for teaching. Thank you for caring. And thank you for being outstanding educators.

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Ketcham Cohort

Thank you for creating a space for the children to be themselves and for being a positive example in their lives.

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Caroline Scott — J.T. Stevens Elementary

Mrs. Scott teaches preschool for children with disabilities at J.T. Stevens Elementary, and she has a big heart for her kiddos! She’s always up at school early and goes the extra mile for her students, many of whom she has in her classroom for multiple years....

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Gretchen Davis — Shawnee Mission School District

Mrs. Davis was an incredible educator who made learning come alive! She loved Social Studies and every day a new cultural adventure awaited our class….”flights” around the word, African safaris, Chinese art, traditional feasts from across the world...

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Alison Wilkinson & Kathy Struck — Denton Creek

3rd grade teacher, Alison Wilkinson along with 5th grade teacher, Kathy Struck, have been heading up our DCE Garden Club for our kids for 2 years in a row now! Learners sign up for Trail Days club according to their passion. Each Friday morning the club groups meet...

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Brenda Townsend – Director of the GPISD Nature Center

Brenda has done so much to promote hands on inquiry based learning in nature. Her passion for teaching is contagious and she has touched the lives of countless teachers and young people all over the district. Brenda is one of those shining stars that just makes the...

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Center City Profile

Center City Charter Schools, located in Washington, DC, is a unique charter school network focused on continual improvement. Though data-driven, Center City doesn’t set numeric goals for teachers or students, but rather prioritizes long-term growth. This approach has...

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Want to integrate Science? It takes a Miracle.

Maggie Haag, our Operations and Growth Associate, interviewed Dr. Miracle the other day and created this piece. #SaveScience blog with Dr. Ted Miracle — Devonshire Elementary, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools As the K-5 Science Lab teacher at Devonshire Elementary...

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Pumpkin Starts with “Puh”

Teacher Spotlight Blog Joslyn Guidot, 1st Grade Teacher, Montpelier Elementary, Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland Pumpkin Starts with “Puh” This year, first grade teacher Joslyn Guidot’s classes all contain many students who don’t speak...

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Learning with Lizards

The weather in North Carolina is pretty warm year-round, which makes for an excellent climate for lizards. When Michelle McElhiney’s fifth-grade students started noticing the lizards running around on the paved pathways in their outdoor classroom, where younger...

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Teacher Testimonial — Kristie Elliott

In hindsight, it seems like a no-brainer. I used to create separate lessons for everything.  It was exhausting.  But after working with Out Teach, I saw how easily different lessons could be combined.  It was easy to include science into my writing and math lessons. ...

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Gaby Lopez – Sope Creek — 2nd Grade

Out Teach has transformed my teaching, my students, and my outlook on life. I’d always considered myself a strong teacher.  I worked really hard to create lesson plans that had me lecturing for 10-15 minutes, then letting the kids work independently or in small groups...

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Ketcham Elementary Principal Riddlesprigger

When Principal Riddlesprigger came to Ketcham in 2014, the school’s standardized test score proficiency rates were in the single digits. Ketcham serves children in Anacostia, a neighborhood in DC with a history of under-investment.  This means that today, 99% of...

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Dan D. Rogers Principal Lisa Lovato

Dan D. Rogers Principal Lisa Lovato did a Q and A with us to share how the Out Teach program has impacted her students, teachers and the school as a whole.  How has Out Teach impacted Science instruction? Most teachers haven’t received much training on how to teach...

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Lila J. Walker – Principal at Beacon Heights Elementary

Back in 2015, Lila J. Walker was the Assistant Principal at Beacon Heights Elementary in Prince George’s County Maryland.  That’s when Out Teach (then REAL School Gardens) expanded into the Mid-Atlantic, and Beacon Heights jumped at the chance to be the region’s first...

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Teacher Spotlight — Martha Brown and Alison Wilkinson

This first story is from Martha Brown. “Each grade level harvested potatoes from their garden bed and donated their potatoes to the Salvation Army, Irving chapter. We kept a chart totaling each grade level’s collection and used fractions when appropriate....

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A Teacher’s REAL story — Ms. Ontiveros

Posted by: Alison Risso Thursday, March 20, 2014 I am a bilingual first grade teacher, my students are Hispanic and I love them. Every day is a challenge for me. I have economically disadvantaged students that struggle with psychological problems and health issues. I...

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Out Teach, formerly REAL School Gardens, provides professional development for elementary school teachers. Out Teach prepares them to use school gardens, outdoor classrooms, and green schoolyards to improve instruction through three-dimensional project-based learning, and outdoor experiential inquiry-based education. Professional learning with Out Teach improves hands-on science and STEM education through instructional coaching and digital education resources and improves 21st Century skills.