February 3, 2017
(Jan leads fellow science teachers in a lesson at Professional Development Day for DC Public Schools. Photo credit: Center for Inspired Teaching.)
On February 1, 2017, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson announced that Jan Schuettpelz, a 2015 Inspired Teacher Leader, was awarded Teacher of the Year for the District. Jan is a seventh grade science teacher at Alice Deal Middle School. She participated in the Inspired Teaching Institute in school year 2015-2016, building her skills in engagement-based instruction in order to ensure her classroom is a vibrant learning community in which lessons are, in her words, “hands-on, minds-on.”
Jan was honored for making science “come alive for her students” and for inspiring young people to love learning for its own sake. Her approach is deeply aligned with Inspired Teaching’s engagement-based philosophy, which contends that teachers must shift their role from information providers to Instigators of Thought®. She has remained involved with Inspired Teaching since the completion of her program.
Jan (standing fourth from left) with the 2015-2016 cohort of Inspired Teacher Leaders.
“Center for Inspired Teaching came into my life at precisely the right time,” Jan said. “I was feeling less than inspired as an educator, unsure if I still had a place in education. My summer with Inspired Teaching surrounded me with amazing, inspired, passionate educators and rekindled the fire in me. Spending the next school year brainstorming, planning, and collaborating with inspired teachers improved my practice more than ever before. The feedback from observations led me to rethink parts of my class, focusing everything on the students. The Center for Inspired Teaching experience has, by far, been the greatest professional development that I have ever received. I am truly Inspired.”
Dave Yarmchuk, Director of Teaching & Learning at Inspired Teaching, said of the award: “Jan teaches the kind of class that everyone wants to be in. What sets her apart is how well she connects with students to help them collaborate and grow as a community of learners. During my time working with Jan, she was eager to continually improve her practice, using Inspired Teaching’s approach to more deeply engage her students. I saw tremendous growth in Jan over the course of the year, not only from a great teacher to an even better one, but also as a leader among her peers and spokesperson for powerful, engaging instruction. We’re proud that she is getting the recognition she deserves.”
The Inspired Teaching Institute, run in partnership with DC Public Schools in 2015-2016, was designed to shift instruction citywide by leveraging cohorts of exceptional Teacher Leaders who were coached and supported by Inspired Teaching over the year. Schuettpelz and the other members of her cohort strengthened their practice, wrote standards-aligned modules for use district-wide, and facilitated professional development for all of their peers teaching science across the DC Public Schools.
The 2017-2018 Inspired Teaching Institute is open for enrollment from teachers in public and public charter schools across DC, Maryland, and Virginia.