DETROIT, June 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A second grade teacher at Detroit Achievement Academy, an Expeditionary Learning (EL) partner school, has been named the 2015 Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year. Jennifer McMillan, a Detroit native, was chosen from the more than 10,000 charter school teachers in Michigan, which has 145,000 students enrolled in 303 charter schools. McMillan is the fifth teacher within the EL network who has received a state teacher of the year honor in the last two years.
"I always knew that my students were incredibly special and hard-working and motivated, and this award is a celebration of this," said McMillan. Detroit Achievement Academy, which opened its doors two years ago in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood of Detroit, is one of EL's 160 partner schools nationwide. EL schools operate primarily in low- to middle-income urban and rural districts in 31 states and D.C.
McMillan joined Detroit Achievement Academy as a founding faculty member two years ago, helping get the free public charter school off the ground to serve kindergarten, first, and second grade students. The school uses the Expeditionary Learning educational model, which prioritizes intensive teacher professional development as well as high student engagement.
With the EL model, McMillan says, "the students love to take ownership of ideas, and have the drive to be successful and be leaders, even at this young age."
"The first four years that I taught, I felt a bit overwhelmed by the new state standards – I wanted to help kids achieve against state measurements but still wanted to be able to teach creatively," said McMillan. The EL approach allowed her to do both. "EL addresses both what students need and what they want," she said. "It's a harmonious execution of all the greatest ways kids learn in one model."
The young teacher has pushed herself to bring curiosity and creativity to her classroom, taking on weekly professional development as well as attending multiple education conferences throughout the year. She's seen the results with her students: "The biggest difference I have seen in the kids I have worked with over the past two years is their jump in independence. They are true learners who are just as interested in discovering for themselves what the answer is as they are in knowing the right answer. They are driving their own learning and driving their own success."
For more information about Expeditionary Learning, please contact Suzanne Oaks Brownstein or Trang Mar of Temin and Company at 212-588-8788 or [email protected].
About Expeditionary Learning
Expeditionary Learning is a leading K-12 education non-profit that is meeting the national challenge to raise student achievement. Combining challenging work with the joy of discovery and pride in mastery, EL offers the education we would want for every child: one that prepares citizens with both the skills and the character necessary for success throughout college, work and life.
Our portfolio of instructional materials and coaching services draws on 20+ years of success in more than 160 EL schools, serving 4,000 teachers and 53,000 students in 31 states and Washington D.C. Based on founding principles of meaningful work, character and respect for teachers, EL's offerings transform teaching and learning to promote habits of scholarship and character that lead to high student achievement, regardless of student background. In addition to success on standardized tests, EL students demonstrate critical thinking, intellectual courage and emotional resilience; they possess the passion and the capacity to contribute to a better world. For more information, visit http://elschools.org.
SOURCE Expeditionary Learning