Lisa Rodgers, who teaches biology at Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado, has a well-earned reputation as a lifelong learner focused on improving students’ mastery. When she decided her AP Biology students needed more experience identifying molecules, she researched and developed a self-paced activity based on structural formulas of common organic molecules, then helped modify it for entry-level biology classes. Each semester Rodgers studies data on her students’ exam performance, then reassesses her instruction to address noticeable gaps. In her class, students take exams online; if they fall short, they complete additional assignments and work with Rodgers before tackling the assessment again. For Rodgers, being an educator isn’t about what she teaches—it’s about what students are learning.
Rodgers teaches both ninth grade Physical Science and AP Biology. When she took over AP Biology three years ago, the program had one half-full class. Now the school has three completely full sections, with 100% of students sitting for the AP exam at the end of the year. In Rodgers’ care, students’ AP scores are among the highest in the district; 95% of students score 3 or higher.
Technology plays a large part in Rodgers’ classroom. Students have 24/7 access to her classes: Rodgers creates videos for AP Biology pre-lab assignments and lectures, leaving class time for more hands-on work. She shares freely with colleagues her technological expertise on new technology features and programs, including Schoology, which is used throughout the building. Always looking for ways to help her colleagues, Rogers piloted a new teacher assessment system for the district, has served on Grandview’s technology and literacy teams, and presents to fellow teachers on professional development days. One recent session, called “Collapsing the Grading Scale,” was based on a formula she co-created to ensure that the school’s grading system accurately reflected student knowledge. Colleagues within and outside of her department seek Rodgers’ expertise, wisdom and motivation. Rodgers’ impact extends well beyond Grandview; she has taught at the Denver Zoo, presented at a regional conference of the National Science Teachers Association, and read AP Biology exams for the College Board.
Rodgers earned a bachelor’s of science in biology in 2002 and a master’s in teaching in 2003 from University of Puget Sound, as well as a master’s of science in zoology from Colorado State University in 2005.
"I hope [my students] will remember how to engage in scientific inquiry and how to reliably answer their own questions later in..." (read more)