John Rosenbaum provides middle schoolers in Central Falls, Rhode Island, with learning experiences they will remember forever. His sixth-grade social studies students at Segue Institute for Learning use clothespins pressed into clay to write their names in Sumerian using the ancient cuneiform alphabet. They compose and record blues songs about the Great Depression, create trading cards based on research about the Greek gods, and act out vignettes about the colonies in front of a green screen. Rosenbaum built a cave in the schoolyard for students to decorate with “cave drawings,” a project that engaged the entire Segue community. When the pandemic interrupted a planned project on ancient Egypt, Rosenbaum led virtual classes from his basement, which he transformed into a mummy-filled tomb. Thanks to Rosenbaum’s hands-on approach to humanities instruction and dedication to cross-curricular content, Segue’s eighth graders outperform state averages in literacy and enter high school ready to handle higher-level work with confidence.
Collaboration is a key to Rosenbaum’s success in the classroom. He works with every department, but concentrates often on literacy strategies with ELA colleagues, including co-teaching writing units, universal reading comprehension strategies, and collaborative assessment and grading. Segue had no official history curriculum, so Rosenbaum sought out resources that bridged social studies and ELA, creating a rigorous curriculum now used by much of the Segue community. He mentors student teachers and has served as grade-level team leader, bringing perpetual positivity and a problem-solving approach to discussions about data and standards-based grading.
Quirky, fun, engaging, patient, kind, and unfailingly honest, Rosenbaum advocates for Segue’s students at every turn. He holds evening workshops for families and partners with local organizations like the Jewish Community Center and Rhode Island State Council on the Arts to bring in additional learning opportunities. Beloved by current and former students, Rosenbaum received the ultimate honor: Segue’s eighth graders chose him to be the featured speaker at their commencement ceremony.
Rosenbaum earned a bachelor’s in 2008 and a master’s in 2011 in history from Rhode Island College.
Press release: Central Falls Teacher Surprised with $25,000 Milken Educator Award for Excellence in Teaching
"I'm not satisfied with students just acquiring the knowledge, reading and learning about the content. Once they've done that, [I want..." (read more)