Julia McBrideAt New Tech Network, we view the teachers at our schools as a core foundation of our organization. Due to their dedication, innovation and persistence, New Tech Network students are given the tools and resources necessary to succeed. In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, we wanted to give words of thanks from the New Tech Network staff. Throughout the week our staff will be sharing messages of appreciation and celebrating New Tech Network teachers! I’ve had the privilege of working with a particular teacher of a Michigan New Tech school for the last 6 years. He went from teaching Technology courses at the middle school level to being recruited as a thought partner in the early design work of bringing a New Tech to their comprehensive high school campus, to ultimately becoming one of the founding members of that shared campus high school’s New Tech team.Since the school’s inception in 2010, he’s co-facilitated integrated American Studies, become a New Tech Network Trainer, trained colleagues across their comprehensive campus on project based learning, and currently he’s facilitating the 12th grade ELA and 9th grade SciTech New Tech courses. One of his more recent projects with his Seniors began like this: “Write a story. Make it good.” I just loved this! It seems so basic, yet the inherent student autonomy as well as the opportunities to build students’ knowledge and skill around written communication and agency are limitless.This story, with so many more beautiful details not mentioned here (I’ll mention one more: Students’ writing scores at this school continue to improve), is one that highlights the stories of so many of the teachers we work with out there who are such essential leaders in the innovative change and improvement work happening across NTN. The current state of this educator’s efforts is testament to his relentless passion for creating meaningful experiences for students he deeply cares about, while continuing to push his own comfort zones as a facilitator of learning in an often ambiguous and changing environment. Mr. Ozias relishes in that ambiguity, and guides and inspires his students right along through it. (It just so happens that one of those students is his daughter, and that daughter represents only 1 of his 5 children.)Thank you, Mr. Ozias, for allowing me the opportunity to engage with you over these 6 years! Cheers to the years ahead!

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