Editorial: Beyond the curriculum
May 7, 2011
Choosing Cheryl Arnett to be the 2010-2011 Teacher of the Year was no easy task among 100 nominations. But Cheryl exemplifies the type of teacher the award was created to honor.
Maybe it's no surprise that Cheryl Arnett is this Editorial Board's pick for the 2010-2011 Craig Daily Press Teacher of the Year.
Her classroom work and students' projects are often featured in these pages for being creative, innovative and technologically advanced.
She was selected to attend Microsoft's 2010 Worldwide Innovative Education Forum in Cape Town, South Africa.
And she's on her way to the 2011 U.S. Innovators Education Forum for a second year.
Surely, someone who's making headlines would be the obvious choice for this year's educator award.
But, we want to be clear that making a selection among the 33 teachers nominated in 100 submissions for Teacher of the Year was no easy task.
Many teachers go the extra mile every day to share opportunities for growth and enrichment with their students. And recognizing those men and women are exactly why the Daily Press began the Teacher of the Year program six years ago.
This year's nominations blew us away, in both magnitude and substance. We are thankful to live in a community that is both rich with effective educators and full of those who appreciate them.
And, Cheryl is one who is both esteemed and deserving. When considering Cheryl, the Editorial Board looked beyond the press that this second-grade teacher receives.
Cheryl is a teacher who uses every opportunity she's presented — and every opportunity she creates — to engage her students.
Take for example some of her class' recent projects.
Earlier this year, Cheryl brought in then-Mayor Don Jones and a representative from the Colorado Division of Wildlife to speak to students about the deer population in town and how people can coexist with the animals.
The students are now distributing a brochure with practical suggestions to do just that.
In another project, students are making strides to reduce consumption of palm oil, the cultivation of which is damaging orangutan habitats. And, the students are also encouraging their peers and the school's food services employees to have no-trash lunches to avoid further damage to the environment.
So, Cheryl's students are learning real-life skills and discovering that they can make a difference.
And she incorporates those lessons with technology, using software programs, iPods, wikis, blogs, videos and more to share those messages with other students and the community.
But in the classroom, it's not all about the curriculum. Often it's about the relationships, too. And those who nominated Cheryl express that well.
Amber Beaver, a mother, states in her nomination that Cheryl has a strong connection with her students.
"She loves them like her own," Amber wrote.
And fellow Sunset teacher Amy Jones writes that Cheryl is often sharing useful websites and ideas with her coworkers.
"She motivated me to teach in more innovative ways," Amy wrote. "She is a great mentor and colleague."
Cheryl's reach undoubtedly stretches beyond the students in her classroom each year, and for that, we commend her.
Now, especially at the close of National Teacher Appreciation Week, we are pleased to honor Cheryl. We hope you'll join us.
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