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Minnesota Teacher of the Year
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Learning Facilitated

I’m happy to announce that I’ve launched a new blog, Learning Facilitated, and will be returning to blogging with regular articles and posts there. I may on occasion cross-post here, but I wanted to broaden the potential author base with a new blog. At the moment I’ll will be working with two other educators in posting our thoughts and ideas on education at Learning Facilitated.

I hope that you’ll visit the new blog from time to time, and I’d like to thank all the readers that have spent time here.

Mike Smart
2007 Minnesota Teacher of the Year’

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Powerful Quotes…

I was just reading a newsletter from Barnett Berry, the president of the Center for Teaching Quality. I came across this powerful line from him, which deserves to be spread far and wide:

“Great teachers for the 21st century do a lot more for students than help them improve on 20th century standardized tests.”

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Joy Riggs interviewed the latest three Minnesota Teachers of the Year (Amber Damm, Derek Olson, and Mike Smart) in a recent article published in Minnesota Parent magazine. The article contains a collection of tips from all three of us on how to help your children succeed in school. Enjoy the read, and thanks to Joy for the wonderfully composed piece!

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Congratulations to Amber Damm, Minnesota’s newly selected 2009 Teacher of the Year! Amber was chosen out of a field of eleven finalists this weekend to become the 45th Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Amber teaches English and Language Arts to seventh and eighth graders at Clara Barton Open School in Minneapolis. She is a tireless teacher who never gives up on her students, a model practitioner for fostering parental involvement in education, and passionate believer in the power of reading. Amber will start a whirlwind media tour on Monday, with numerous TV and radio appearances throughout the day.

As a footnote to this story, my last official duty as the 2007 Minnesota Teacher of the Year is to sit on the selection committee for choosing the 2009 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. As part of that duty, I got a chance to witness all eleven of the finalists’ interviews this weekend. It’s a remarkable opportunity to hear such talented and dedicated teachers talk about their educational beliefs and classroom practices. Choosing one teacher from the eleven finalists is a daunting task, as any of the finalists would make an outstanding representative for teachers.

Congratulations, Amber!

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Congratulations to all the finalists for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award for 2009. This weekend, May 1 through May 3, the finalists are gathering for a series of interviews and events that will culminate with the selection of the 2009 Minnesota Teacher of the Year on Sunday, May 3.

Good luck to all the finalists in their interviews. For me, this will be the last official function I participate in as the 2007 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. I look forward to meeting and getting to know all the finalists.

The official press release can be read on the Education Minnesota website.

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the individual “Why I Teach” videos that each of the 2008 Teachers of the Year created in New York City in late September. Recently, the Pearson Foundation took those videos and had a compilation done with some segments from about half the videos.

You can watch the video here. Enjoy.

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MinnPost, the Twin Cities’ respected and growing online news site, is running a five-part series this week on segregation in Minnesota’s schools. It’s great to see MinnPost bring education to the forefront of their news coverage. With the economy, energy, the election, and foreign policy dominating news coverage of late, it seems that there has been a dearth of educational coverage.

The MinnPost articles are well written and thought provoking. I’m going to hold off on commenting until I’ve read all five pieces, but they are well worth the time. Here are links to the articles:

Monday: Twin Cities-area schools more segregated than ever

Tuesday: Minority populations in suburbs rise…

Wednesday: The rise of voluntarily segregated schools…

Thursday: State and educators can’t agree…

Friday: A better way to integrate schools…

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