Jenny Henry wins Apple Award for World Class Education
HIGHLANDS RANCH - For teachers, changing the your classroom philosophy and approach is not something that is easily done. Walking into Jenny Henry’s 5th grade classroom at Copper Mesa Elementary, it’s obvious this isn’t an “old school” teacher-led class.
“I believe World Class Education is truly about looking at what kids are going to need for a future that we don’t even know what it looks like yet,” said Henry. “I think what’s most exciting to me now is that the change in education is really child-centered, and I believe what’s going to be best for the kids is what they need to have in order to be successful.”
Henry’s students use their individual passions to find their own path to success.
“When we came into the classroom the first day she said ‘How do you want your day to look and what do you want to learn this year,’ which is really a lot more exciting than ‘first we do math, then we do reading, then social studies and like everything else.’” said student Charles Schwartz. “So how she teaches is more exciting, and that’s what I like.”
“Jenny is passionate about World Class Education, and she focuses on her student’s passions and really lets them drive their own instruction,” said
Nancy Wortman, principal of Copper Mesa Elementary School. “Kids are engaged. They know what they’re learning and how it connects to the GVCs, and they work on the 4Cs every single day in their classroom.”
By tapping into her student’s passions for learning, Jenny is engaging them and reinvigorating them in a 21st century learning environment. It opens their minds to unlimited potential.
“We focus mainly on our passions, and we have people come together who have similar passions,” said student Charles Schwartz. We work in groups. It’s more the entrepreneurial way to learn.”
“I think highlighting the strengths and allowing them to involve their passions and celebrate what they’re strong in really teaches them a valuable lesson about what they can contribute to move forward and make a difference in the world,” Henry said.
A core value of World Class Education is getting kids to believe in themselves and their learning potential, which leads to their success. However, navigating these uncharted waters is not an easy task.
“As a teacher the hardest thing was taking that jump - standing on the edge of a cliff and jumping without a net, without anything just trusting the net will appear, and I did that,” said Henry.
Henry’s 5th graders fully realize the benefits of World Class Education and what those who are not exposed to it might be missing.
“They’re missing out on the choice and freedom and the hands-on learning experience where you figure it out yourself instead of the teacher explaining step-by-step,” said 5th grader Carson Allen Fry.
“Watching them and knowing as they go forward they’re going to change this world,” said Henry, “I love the idea that I’m going to watch that happen and there will be a stepping stone on their path that will be 5th grade in my classroom.”