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Laurie Espenel

Laurie Espenel (OR '06)

At the time of the Award, Laurie Espenel was:

Sandy Grade School
Sandy, OR

Subject(s) taught: General Elementary
Grade(s): 4, 5

Biographical Information

Over the past six years, teacher Laurie Espenel has been instrumental in helping Sandy Grade School in Sandy improve its state report card rating from "failing" to "strong" to "exceptional." Even before this transformation, Ms. Espenel's students consistently scored in the 90th percentile in reading and the 80th percentile in math. Now, despite a large transient population with many migrant, non-English-speaking students, more than 90 percent of Ms. Espenel's fifth graders meet math and English benchmarks. A National Board Certified teacher, Ms. Espenel constantly adapts her instruction to meet individual student needs and uses a wide variety of teaching strategies in her blended classroom of fourth and fifth graders. Her active, hands-on, student-centered projects have ranged from raising salmon and trout in the classroom for a unit on the life cycle to making gingerbread to teach geometry as an edible take-home project. In Ms. Espenel's classroom, successful learning is so accessible, her students can literally taste it.