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Winner of the 2013 SOAR® Teacher of the Year Award

“I was frustrated by my students’ messy folders, lost assignments, and late work that created more work for teachers and less time for learning,” said this year’s SOAR® Teacher of the Year. “I saw a real need for organizational skills.” This frustrating yet very common problem prompted her to become a study skills leader in her school community.

I am thrilled to introduce the winner of the 2013 SOAR® Teacher of the Year award… Marlene Goodrich of South Lindon, UT! Marlene teaches 7th grade at Maeser Prep Academy and has implemented SOAR® in her school with amazing results. She has developed a whole new culture of empowerment and motivation in her school!

 

Her principal, Robyn Ellis, said, “When I visited students in the SOAR® classrooms to discuss how SOAR® has impacted their lives and how it will enhance their future, I received an overwhelming positive response from them! Students feel like the skills they have learned in time management and organization have increased their grades and helped them to maintain a more balanced life. Many are already making the connection of how their current decisions and behaviors will impact their future college plans and life.”

The following are comments from her students:

“The SOAR® program has made a tremendous difference in students’ lives. We are more on task and have the needed supplies when doing homework… Students have an organized home study station and have learned how to properly address situations. SOAR® is a very successful program and the fact that we get to take it at such a young age is very helpful!”

“Teachers at our school have noticed a tremendous difference with students that take SOAR® this year because they seem to remain on task, have needed papers and files ready for class, and have less ‘jumbled up’ papers stuffed in backpacks.”

“Most importantly, SOAR® taught me how to ‘write it down.’ I can just write down my homework in my planner and crack it out later in the day and check it off once I am done.”

“Every school should include SOAR® it is a lifelong class because SOAR® is the key to a whole new world called life and the things you learn in SOAR® can help you through your lifelong adventure of adulthood.”

“We learned how to prioritize our homework load.”

Marlene not only helped her students make valuable real-world connections with their learning, she kept a smile on their face. As one student wrote, “SOAR® has helped me raise my grades and become a better student… and we always have something to laugh about in this class!”

Clearly, Marlene has raised expectations for her students—but most significantly, she did so while providing her students with the support they needed to meet those expectations, and delivered that support with a warm and compassionate heart. Thank you, Marlene, for recognizing the vision behind SOAR® and bringing it to life for your fortunate 7th grade students! I applaud your dedication and am grateful to have you as a member of the SOAR® community.

Marlene serves as an inspiration for all educators who have chosen to dedicate their careers to making a difference in the lives of young people.

When I spoke to Marlene last week, she wanted all of the credit to go to her school community; she is very proud of her school board and administration.  “I applied for this award simply to give our school recognition for what we’ve accomplished,” she shared.  Certainly, her team deserves sincere acknowledgement for supporting her initiative and vision! It is evident that her school team operates out of the best interests for their students and has created a win-win partnership for everyone.  Congrats to Marlene and Maeser Prep Academy!

The following letters are from Marlene and her principal, outlining her program and accomplishments:

—–

Dear Susan:

Thank you for your invitation to show what we at Maeser Preparatory Academy have done with the SOAR® curriculum this year.

I am very excited to share our success with you. As a new teacher, I saw a real need for student organizational skills. I was frustrated by their messy folders, lost assignments, and late work which created more work for teachers and less time for learning. They needed to be taught how to better manage themselves and their work.

Your book seemed like a straightforward approach to solving these problems. I asked to purchase the program and I also asked that SOAR® be a full year course for the 7th grade students. Fortunately, the board agreed and now 110 students have SOAR® class every day. Teaching the class for a full year has presented some challenges, but I have worked hard to expand the curriculum without losing the focus or diluting the key concepts.

Each week Wednesday is a designated study day. Students come prepared to work for a self-directed class while grade reports are distributed and I interview each individual student. I ask about their progress and find out about their concerns, suggesting SOAR® solutions and other ideas to help them.

The results of the SOAR® class have exceeded our expectations. Teachers report more attentive students turning in assignments on time and being prepared. They see students using planners in class and keeping neat binders. They feel there is a greater sense of order and personal responsibility.

An unexpected result has been the spontaneous adoption of SOAR® buzz words like “we never lose a piece of paper,” “if you don’t have an A in SOAR® you’re not trying,” “don’t stuff your stuff,” and “that’s against SOAR® law.” The students really like the class, too.

The administration has been pleased and has recommended to the board that we adopt further implementation of the program in the school. They have plans to provide incoming new 8th grade students, who did not have the class previously, with a two hour tutorial and the opportunity to participate in SOAR® basics with peer and teacher help. They then plan to do the same with the 8th and 9th graders the following year and so on until the whole school has become involved.

We plan to become a SOAR® school where the principles are taught and used by all students and teachers regularly. I have enjoyed this year and look forward to improving the class for next year.

Sincerely,

Marlene Goodrich
SOAR® and English 8th Teacher
Maeser Preparatory Academy, South Lindon, UT

Dear Selection Committee,

It is my pleasure to recommend Marlene Goodrich as our SOAR® Teacher of the Year for 2013. Marlene is such an energetic advocate for the SOAR® program. She actually brought the idea of incorporating SOAR® into our curriculum to our Curriculum Committee, as a way to enhance the mission of our school. Marlene is always open to new ideas and ways to inspire student success. Because of her passion for the program, SOAR® became a year-long course to help support our incoming 7th graders in navigating their academic journey at Maeser.

When I visited students in the SOAR® classrooms to discuss how SOAR® has impacted their lives and how it will enhance their future, I received an overwhelming positive response from them! They feel like the skills they have learned in time management and organization have increased their grades and helped them to maintain a more balanced life. Many are already making the connections of how their current decisions and behaviors will impact their future college plans and life.

To say our team is thrilled about the results we are seeing in the work ethic and academic progress of our students would be an incredible understatement. Marlene is a compassionate, generous, kind, and gentle mentor and advocate for our students. The SOAR® program that she leads is helping to change lives at our school. It is my desire to recognize Marlene as an outstanding mentor of students and a true cheerleader for the SOAR® program.

Sincerely,

Robyn Ellis, MSEd
Director, Maeser Prep Academy


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