While many students cheer the end of another school year, the mood is bittersweet for kids in Angela Harvala’s fifth grade class, who often cry as they say goodbye to their teacher. Harvala is known for creating an uncommon bond with her students and encouraging them to believe in themselves and realize they can create their own future. Referred to as a “data geek,” Harvala works tirelessly to individualize instruction. She does this by gathering diverse data about her students including their achievement data, learning preferences, home life, and anything else that could influence their performance. She then uses that information to modify instruction and set specific goals for each student.
To get a clearer picture of how students are progressing, Harvala develops alternative assessments in which students can show what they know. She also holds them accountable for their work by asking them to personally rate their own effort and progress. She shares what’s happening in the classroom with parents through a variety of means. To ensure that students who need extended learning time get the support, she developed a “Catch-Up Club” where students can get assistance with completing assignments on time.
Harvala is active on the school’s Tiger Pride PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports) team. In 2013, a video she and her students produced highlighting their PBIS efforts won the award for “Best Picture” from the national Association for Positive Behavioral Supports. She is the fifth-grade level coordinator and serves on various committees such as curriculum, the science vertical team and district alignment.
Harvala’s student demonstrate significant growth from the beginning to the end of the year. Not only do students feel pride in their work, they are influenced by their teacher’s pride in the teaching profession—a career choice that she not only models but advocates. Perhaps one day in the future, a student of Angela Harvala’s will be surprised with the Milken Educator Award!
Since winning the award in 2014, she has been given various opportunities to grow as a professional, provide input in decision making, and to present at a number of professional conferences. Among her learning opportunities was being selected in 2017 for a fellowship at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes which was a truly transformative experience. Harvala loves to connect with other educators and believes that it is through collaboration that we can transform education for our students and create lasting change. She has been blessed to collaborate with teachers on some exciting projects and welcomes the opportunity to work with anyone that wants to help students to see their value, find their voice, and connect with the world.
“Great teachers don’t teach what to think; they teach how to think, solve problems and communicate.”..." (read more)
Nov 10, 2014
MinnPost | Oct 30 , 2014 | Minneapolis, MN
StarTribune | Oct 30 , 2014 | Minneapolis, MN