Sharon Ornelas has achieved remarkable success with English Language Learners (ELL) at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis. She not only helps them achieve basic English literacy, but also engages them in college-level work through a transitional writing course she created in collaboration with the University of Minnesota. A National Board Certified teacher, Ornelas often seeks input from students to help shape curriculum and instruction, asking them to vote on novels being read in class and designing extensive inquiry-based projects that allow them to explore topics of their choice. She also uses formative assessments to monitor student progress and provide individual help where needed. Her efforts have helped 90 percent of her regularly attending students pass the Minnesota Basic Skills Tests. Ornelas actively designs and coordinates professional development programs through the Professional Practice School (PPS), a partnership with the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. She has also worked with the state legislature and the Minnesota Department of Education to develop a residency program at Patrick Henry for new teachers.
1991 Macalester College, B.A.