Educator Profile    Educators

Ricardo Larios (OR '15)


Waldo Middle School
Salem, OR

Subject(s) taught: Social Studies

At the time of the Award, Ricardo Larios was:

Waldo Middle School
Salem, OR

Subject(s) taught: Social Studies

Biographical Information

Ricardo Larios has been teaching social studies for eight years with great creative flair. In class, he'll connect subjects to everyday issues to make them more accessible by integrating current events, such as those in Syria, into lessons about historical wars. Larios is said to turn every moment into a lesson and every child into a learner.

Larios also teaches his kids life and teaching skills in Teacher Cadets, a program to cultivate future educators, and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) classes. As the child of Mexican immigrants (and someone who suggests that he was "a bit of a troublemaker" when he was in school), Larios is the first in his family to go to college, and is dedicated to teaching students with backgrounds similar to his about their options for the future. "Setbacks are set-ups for greatness," he tells his students.

Larios asks his students to consider different professions, and invites community leaders to visit his class to talk about their careers (while others from the school district also come to observe his inspirational teaching). He also helps students with organizational skills, questioning techniques, and self-reflective activities that enable his students to see themselves as powerful people who can effect change for themselves.

And it appears to be working.

Students are determined to live up to his expectations. The statistics bear this out: 99% of his previous AVID students are accepted into a university or a community college, while 61% of his students met or exceeded the state science exam (compared to 39% of the total 8th-grade population).

Larios' name is also invoked yearly at the Turn Around Achievement Awards ceremony, where district students who have made significant changes in their attendance, motivation and commitment regularly thank him for their success.

Larios received an A.A. from Chemetka Community College in 2003 and a B.A. in 2005 from Oregon State. In 2007, he received an M.A. in teaching from Willamette University, where he now mentors new teachers in the Salem Clinical Teacher Program.

He recently started a summer literacy transition academy to help students transition from middle school to high school, and raises money for special needs programs. The one-time AmeriCorps teacher is also the head track coach who turned the school's program around, and grew it from 40 to 140 students while never slowing his own pace for positive change. 

Related Connections

Article: Spotlight: Ricardo Larios (OR '15)

Educator Quote:

"When I became a teacher, I didn't really know..." (read more)

Ricardo Larios Newsletters

Time-Saving Tips for Teachers
Jan 08, 2016

Ricardo Larios In The News

Meet 5 Superstar Teachers Who Won the 'Oscars of Teaching'
Parade  |  Aug 12, 2016  |  New York, NY

A Winner at Growing Winners
Oregon Stater  |  Oregon State University Alumni Association  |  Apr 20, 2016  |  Corvallis, OR

Bilingual Oregon Middle School Teacher 'Can Teach Anyone, Anything,' Wins $25,000
The Oregonian  |  Jan 06, 2016  |  Portland, OR

Salem Middle School Teacher Wins $25,000 Award
KEX-AM  |  Jan 06, 2016  |  Tigard, OR

Local Teacher Honored With Surprise Award and $25,000
Statesman Journal  |  Jan 06, 2016  |  Salem, OR

Salem Teacher Surprised With $25,000 Award
KATU-TV  |  ABC  |  Jan 06, 2016  |  Portland, OR