RAFT Honors Michelle Steever with Teacher of the Year Award

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Michelle Steever, Physics teacher at Pioneer High School, earns the Robert Brownlee Award from RAFT.

Steever accepts Robert Brownlee Award from RAFT CEO, Grainger Marburg

The very best day of teaching happens when I've set the stage well enough that I'm not needed for the learning to happen - the students just take it and run.

Each year Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT) selects a leader in hands-on science education to receive the Robert Brownlee Teacher of the Year award. This year, the award ceremony assembled nearly 250 education advocates and philanthropists. RAFT CEO Grainger Marburg presented the award to the 2015 honoree, Michelle Steever, a twenty-year San Jose Unified secondary science school teacher and former engineer. Steever currently teaches Physics and Conceptual Physics at Pioneer High School, in the San Jose Unified School District.

“Teaching is a legacy job. We get to help students figure out how their world works. We get to add the word 'yet' to 'I don't understand.' When I eavesdrop and hear 'She's not going to tell us, she'll make us figure it out...so we might as well get started' ... I'm reminded why I teach. The very best day of teaching happens when I've set the stage well enough that I'm not needed for the learning to happen - the students just take it and run. That's the magic and the why,” says Steever.

Guests at the event had the opportunity to experience examples of the hands-on learning activities RAFT creates to help students develop important 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving. Since 65% of today’s students will step into jobs that don’t even exist yet, the activities challenged attendees to think of possible innovations for existing technologies and solutions such as structural bracing and bridge making.

The team innovation challenge was led by Master of Ceremonies, Jose Gonzalez, a Teach for America alumni who is currently working at Voices Charter School in the Franklin McKinley School District. The audience was instructed to use recycled materials to create the most effective track from one end of their table to the other, to carry a small Styrofoam ball to the opposite side without falling off. This exercise demonstrated a deeper understanding of RAFT’s innovative approach to hands-on education.

“Teachers are a critical foundation to the success of our children. Teachers like Michelle and Jose should be applauded and admired for the energy and enthusiasm they bring to the classroom. They make learning fun and engaging which RAFT feels is key to ensuring students become lifelong learners,” says Grainger Marburg, RAFT CEO.

About Resource Area For Teaching
RAFT believes the best way to spark the love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers, and creators, is through hands-on learning. A nonprofit organization since 1994, RAFT serves 12,000 educators each year who teach over 900,000 students. Find out more about RAFT and how to get involved at http://www.raft.net.

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Brittany Coleman
@RAFTBayArea
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