English and math teacher Steven Koponen energizes the learning community at O.E. Dunckel Middle School in Farmington Hills. To help students understand his teaching approach, he distributes a "Survival Guide" outlining his classroom philosophy. Mr. Koponen encourages his students to take responsibility for their own learning and draws upon a wide range of community resources to enrich his student-centered, technology-integrated curriculum. He has created several school-wide events including the "Probability Fair" where students use their math skills to design games of chance and invite other students and parents to play, and "Longfellow Day" during which students read their own poetry at a local coffee house. A popular conference presenter, Mr. Koponen chairs the school math department, and has earned state recognition for the interdisciplinary teaching team he leads. 2017 update: After the closure of Dunckel, Koponen began his 24th year of teaching at Warner Middle School. After middle schools in the district lost funding for teaming, he was assigned math. He has taught Grade 8 Math as well as High-School Algebra I. Currently, he is helping to develop a transition team that is looking at making standards-based grading a norm in the district.
1993 Eastern Michigan University, B.A., 1997 Wayne State University, M.A.