School: Opal Robinson Elementary
District: Manhattan Beach Unified School District
County: Los Angeles County
Region: Southern California
Grade: Elementary School
Subject: Multiple Subjects
Award Year: 2019
Kim Holz Grade 4, Multiple Subjects Opal Robinson Elementary, Manhattan Beach Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles County “Although teaching is an ever-changing profession, molded each year by the students with whom we have the honor of instructing, there are some salient threads at the core of my practice. Sensitivity, humor, reinforcement, motivation, practice, exploration, inquiry, and discovery are common threads that weave in and out, throughout my day.” — Kim Holz
Holz has been teaching for 40 years, 23 years in her current position at Opal Robinson Elementary School. She is also a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support site leader, mentor, and leader in her district’s education community. She uses personalized learning, engagement, and differentiated instruction to help each student reach their greatest potential as learners who can collaborate, create, problem-solve, and communicate effectively. Her personal style—anecdotes, connections made with students, and bits of humor—adds to a nurturing learning environment where students feel treasured for their uniqueness, stimulated by a motivating curriculum, and engaged in learning. Her classroom is rich with student work and visual displays. Each thematic unit of instruction is integrated with literature, writing, math, history, science, and fine arts. Lessons are differentiated to meet children where they are and move them successfully to their next steps.
As a 2019 California Teacher of the Year, Kim Holz feels strongly about singing the praises of elementary school educators and the complex components that comprise each day. Balanced Literacy, Cognitively Guided Instruction in math, Number Talks, writing across the curriculum, Personalized Learning, and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) are all components of Kim’s daily practices.
Kim is most passionate, however, about History-Social Science and her teaching of fourth grade California history. She was recently named “Outstanding Elementary School Social Studies Teacher of the Year 2020” by the California Council for the Social Studies. Through an integrated History-Social Science Curriculum, Kim provides learners with opportunities to interact with primary source documents, write passionately using a Document Based Question format, read both historical fiction and informational texts, and experience the visual and performing arts through a rich, integrated curriculum that is motivating and accessible to all learners.
Kim believes that instruction of History-Social Studies (H-SS) can and should be used as a vehicle to develop student literacy and problem-solving skills and to promote engaged, global citizenship. Katherine Whittaker Stopp, Manhattan Beach Unified’s Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, said “I could think of no one more knowledgeable and influential to help our district make the shift toward California Common Core Standards in English Language Arts. She supported a new crop of young teachers on their journey as educators by sharing her understanding of each component of balanced literacy. Her peers made great growth as a result of her tutelage. I would be remiss to portray Mrs. Holz as just a literacy expert, for she is also a consummate educator of history-social studies; in all my years, I’ve seen no one create learning energy around it like Kim.”
Kim has taught all elementary grades and has served as a master and mentor teacher during her career. She currently teaches fourth grade at Opal Robinson Elementary in Manhattan Beach Unified School District.