School: Casita Center for Technology, Science & Math
District: Vista Unified School District
County: San Diego County
Region: Southern California
Grade: Elementary School
Subject: Science, Math
Award Year: 2017
“The value of education rests on how educators shape the young minds of tomorrow. By focusing on their strengths, interests, and values through a personalized approach, students feel empowered to take action to make an impact in the world.” — Jenny Chien
Anderson has been teaching for nine years, the last two as a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teacher at Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math. A self-described learning experience designer, Chien pulls resources from various avenues to remix and refine lessons to create personalized and relevant experiences that focus on each student’s interests.
She teaches a fourth grade journalism class, where students produce a morning newscast and also runs a flexible learning space entitled the Design, Research, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Science (DREAMS) lab where students learn the language of coding and engage in design challenges aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts (ELA) and math. The DREAMS lab allows students the opportunity to explore how things work from trial and error.
Laura Smith, Principal of Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math, said, “Jenny Chien is a lead learner. Observing her deliver professional development on Next Generation Science Standards to teachers is magical. Educators from all over San Diego County are modeling their STEM labs after the DREAMS lab. Jenny is inspired by the future and what could be.”