Lee Orlando, third-grade teacher at C. P. Smith Elementary School in Burlington, has helped her students attain a deeper understanding of the curriculum. She has done this in part by implementing the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development's (ASCD) Understanding by Design framework, a method of designing lessons and assessments for improving student achievement. The activities in Ms. Orlando's classroom are engaging and hands-on, from participating in a Poetry Café and creating a model of the Lake Champlain Basin to visiting an Air National Guard site and launching rockets and hot air balloons into the air. She routinely aligns her lessons to state standards and analyzes assessment data to determine areas that need improvement. Her effective teaching has helped students consistently perform well on end-of-year performance tasks. At the end of each year, Ms. Orlando writes letters to all of her students telling them what an outstanding job they did. It's high time someone sent such a message to Ms. Orlando herself.