2018 Teachers of the Year
Three teachers in OUSD schools are being hailed across Oakland Unified School District as Teachers of the Year for 2018.
Micaela Morse from International Community (Elementary) School (ICS)
Cassandra Chen from United for Success Middle School
Jah-Yee Woo from Oakland Technical High School
All three teachers are being recognized for their leadership and the innovative methods they use to foster learning among their students.
At ICS, Micaela Morse teaches kindergarten in a 50/50 Spanish/English dual immersion program which she helped design. She’s lead teacher for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Morse has also supported the OUSD science team by leading professional development workshops on the Next Generation Science Standards for teachers from other schools. Morse has been accepted into the Bay Area Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute 2018.
“Ms. Morse is an expert teacher,” said ICS Principal Eleanor Alderman. “The way she moves between languages, holds a high bar for rigor, plans access points for all students, and always brings the joy factor, makes her masterful. She uses songs, rhymes, and movement to teach academic language. She is always calm, even in the midst of unexpected chaos, and builds trusting, loving relationships with all of her students.”
At United For Success, Cassandra Chen teaches 6th grade math and science and 8th grade algebra. Ms. Chen co-facilitates the PBIS team, sits on the school leadership team, is teacher leader of both the science and math departments, co-leads the student Gender-Sexuality Alliance and sits on the culture and climate/restorative justice committee, among other things.
Ms. Chen’s care for her students is evident in her probing but encouraging questioning style and her commitment to ensuring that every student gets just as excited about each day’s lesson as she is. “She’s an amazing teacher,” said Principal Nicole Pierce. “In her instructional practices, student relationships, trauma-informed approach to education, school leadership, and community connection, her ability to push herself and others towards continuous improvement is truly unparalleled. In her instruction, she pushes students to do the “heavy-lifting” and critical thinking.”
At Oakland Tech, Jah-Yee Woo teaches 11th grade English and U.S. History. She helped lead the 9th grade teacher teams in establishing a Humanities curriculum that was engaging for all students, laying the groundwork for establishing more structures and support systems for students as they progress through grades 10-12. Most recently, Woo has co-authored lessons to accompany a documentary about the Chinese Exclusion Act on PBS Learning Media, co-developed culturally responsive curriculum to accompany the musical Hamilton and she is currently working with other teachers to adapt Dr. Clarence Jones’ course “From Slavery to Obama” for high school classrooms.
“The seeming effortlessness of Jah-Yee’s practice belies her avid commitment to her own professional development,” said Oakland Tech Co-Principal Josue Diaz. “She is relentless in seeking out new opportunities to learn. She has taken advantage of institutes offered through our state and local history-social science projects. She also served as a member of the OUSD Ethnic Studies Leadership Team for several years, contributing curriculum to our Ethnic Studies Framework, and participating in classroom inquiry focused on how to build empathy among students of different racial backgrounds in her classroom.”
This is the first year that OUSD has been able to honor more than two Teachers of the Year. We congratulate these three wonderful educators and proudly raise them up as 2018 OUSD Teachers of the Year.