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Gasser Selected as National Teacher of the Month for April 2024

Open Up Resources

Open Up Resources

April 25, 2024

Gasser Selected as National Teacher of the Month for April 2024

Michelle Gasser, a Middle School ELA Teacher at Vertical Skills Academy (CO), has been named the Open Up Resources Teacher of the Month for April 2024. Gasser is being recognized for her outstanding work in her classroom and ongoing support of teachers across the country as a member of the Open Up Resources National Professional Learning Community.

Gasser’s work with EL Education K–8 Language Arts makes her one of the most innovative teachers in the country. The EL Education K–8 Language Arts curriculum inspires a new way of teaching language arts by engaging students through compelling, real-world content to build equitable and inclusive learning opportunities.

Amy Thomas, a colleague at Vertical Skills Academy, nominated Gasser for the creativity and innovative ideas she brings to her implementation of EL Education. Thomas shared, “Michelle spends hours creating thoughtful lesson plans that push our students’ thinking, engage them, as well as integrate reading, writing, and thinking skills. She also integrates all of the technology needed for our students to be successful.”

In her nomination, Thomas shared all the ways that her colleague Gasser dives deeply into the EL Education curriculum. She explained, “This is [Michelle’s] second year using Open Up Resources and EL Education, and she continues to dive in and learn more. She is a learner who’s willing to have a growth mindset about her own learning and teaching … Our students have grown so much since she has been their teacher.”

Gasser told us about all of the resources and topics at the core of the curriculum that support her in implementing EL Education. She explained, “The curriculum provides rich materials, vocabulary, and novels to support learning concepts. The students are required to think deeply about advanced topics such as human rights. These aspects are my favorite part of the curriculum because during the last two years of teaching EL Education I have seen students thoroughly engaged in widening their knowledge level. Instead of resisting learning these challenging, thought-provoking ideas, they are all committed to the material.” 

And she offered some insight to educators using the curriculum for the first time: “The curriculum supports learning of the standards in an engaging manner. At first, the curriculum will take time to learn and understand how the pieces come together but the depth of knowledge the students will gain is invaluable.”

About Open Up Resources:

Open Up Resources is a non-profit publisher in pursuit of delivering equitable learning experiences for all students. By providing educators best in class, research-based PreK-12 curricula and professional learning, educators can better support every student’s academic success and create in-class experiences that celebrate, honor, and empower all students with a keen focus on historically excluded student populations.

To learn more about Open Up Resources’ mission and work, click here.