Winthrop Charter School
A few members of the Education Team awarded the CSUSA October Bright Spots to Ms. McMorris of Winthrop Charter School. Her learners were so excited for, and so proud of, their teacher. Ms. McMorris received the Bright Spot award based on her submission revolving around inquiry-based, student-centered learning and community service. Her learners tend a garden, research how to best grow the vegetables, collect data, compare and contrast, and collaborate to make connections to their learning. The students have also decided to support a local fire department this year by donating the vegetables to them. The firefighters were so appreciative, and they have decided to provide lessons and help with the garden. When asked what inspired her to become a teacher, Ms. McMorris stated, without hesitation, “I was born to teach.” Her passion for teaching, and each of her learners, is contagious.
Ms. McMorris doesn’t believe in being on stage. She promotes and encourages her students to be the teachers in the classroom. It was evident that Ms. McMorris has had a profound impact on her learners. They spoke very highly of her and the teaching methods in the class. They were even able to recite for us the daily morning mantra: I am somebody. I was somebody when I came here, and I will be a better somebody when I leave. I am powerful, and I am strong. I deserve the education that I get here. I have things to do, people to impress, and places to go. I have a PURPOSE, and that purpose is to be the best. I have PASSION, and I give 100% every day. I have INTEGRITY, and I will be honest and do what’s right, because it is the right thing to do. I have GRIT, and I will succeed at any cost. If better is possible, then good is not enough. I was born to win!
Ms. McMorris says, “You’ve got to be gritty. You have to be the one walking away wanting to do something different. You have to release [the students]. You have to trust them. Trust that it’s going to be OK. Data proves that [inquiry based learning] does work. If they discover it, they can tell you about it. Our organization does push student-centered; student-centered is inquiry-based. If you’re all about the students, you’re inquiry- you’re going to let them discover. I love what I do.”