Oakland – MetWest High’s Sarah Glasband, who teaches humanities, and Allison Streich, a member of OUSD’s music faculty, emerged from a crowded field of dedicated instructors to earn recognition as Oakland’s 2014-15 “Teachers of the Year.” Both winners will advance to the Alameda County Teacher of the Year contest and could contend for state and national honors. While the outcome of future competitions is uncertain, the excellence of these instructors and the impact they’ve had on Oakland children is not.
As MetWest Principal Charlie Plant said of Glasband, a Skyline High grad who returned home to teach, “Sarah’s curriculum and teaching is the hard-won product of many years of reflective practice, ongoing growth through collaboration and engagement with staff and students, and provides very clear and high expectations for learning that her students fully engage in. Her students love engaging in simulations about history, projects that build on their own experience and connect with their passions through internships, and their individual, deep learning is apparent when they present their exhibitions every quarter.”
As a humanities teacher for 9th and 10th Grade students at MetWest High School, serving as both an instructor and advisor, Glasband helps students pursue internships that develop real worlds skills while enhancing knowledge. She also acts a leader in developing rigorous curriculum that lets students identify and complete projects that contribute not only to their own personal development but also to that of their school community and to the city of Oakland.
“The culture Sarah has cultivated in her classroom is powerful, nurtures deep growth, and is open and safe enough that all her students step in to lead and learn, even with challenging social, emotional, and academic content,” Plant explained. “Her facilitation of circle process has been used as an exemplar by the district. Sarah knows how to meet each student’s needs by using the power of group learning while differentiating to provide individual pathways to dramatic academic growth.”
The second half of this year’s Teacher of the Year tandem is OUSD Music Teacher Alison Streich, a 21-year veteran of the District. In explaining her contributions to the betterment of Oakland students, OUSD Music Coordinator Phil Rydeen said, “Ms. Streich has successfully built music programs in West Oakland schools including Martin Luther King, Lafayette, and West Oakland Middle School. Beginning in Kindergarten, she engages her students with creative songs that teach students to read and perform music at high levels. The older elementary students learn on band and orchestra instruments and she follows her students through West Oakland Middle School.”
Streich joined OUSD in 1993 as Kindergarten teacher and subsequently worked as a Special Education teacher before joining the OUSD music faculty in 20014. Since then, she hasn’t missed a beat, working on the Music Integrated Learning Environment (MILE) program, an innovative collaboration between students, classroom teachers, and music teachers, forming and nurturing music education programs at West Oakland elementary schools, building a feeder program for the West Oakland Middle School band and creating the Oakland Spirit Orchestra (OSO).
“A few years ago Ms. Streich developed the Oakland Spirit Orchestra by forming a partnership with the Oakland East Bay Symphony,” Rydeen explained. “The students from Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary, Lafayette Elementary, and West Oakland Middle School have had the opportunity to perform exciting music from multiple genres all over the city. The pride and joy of performing is evident on the faces of her students.”
The goal of OUSD’s Teacher of the Year program is to identify and honor superior teachers and to pay special tribute to the efforts of outstanding instructors in general. Each year, after reviewing applications, conducting classroom observations and evaluating videotaped instruction, OUSD staff recommends two nominees from among many exceptionally well-qualified candidates for Board approval.
OUSD Teachers of the Year are selected using a number of criteria including: the recommendations of nominators, candidates’ personal statements of teaching philosophy, and the observations of candidates’ teaching practice, classroom environment, and student conduct. This year’s selection committee was comprised entirely of credentialed teachers, and included two former Teachers of the Year, as well as leaders of the Oakland Effective Teaching Framework initiative and Teacher Growth and Development Evaluation pilot.