Crow elementary teachers Michael, Round Face earn accolades for school

Thursday, December 6, 2018
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Photo by Gary Rood

Connie Michael (back row, far left) stands with her fifth grade class Tuesday afternoon at Crow Agency Public School. On Monday, Nov. 26, she was one of 51 educators nationwide to earn the National University System-Sanford Teacher Award.

Crow Agency Public School has experienced a rewarding year, so far, as teachers Connie Michael and Sunny Round Face have been honored for their educational achievements.

Thanks to a recommendation by a fellow teacher, Round Face is now on the Montana Indian Education Association board, which specializes in Native American students. MIEA hosts a yearly conference in the spring to bring educators of all types together in order to provide resources and teach strategies aimed at helping Native American students learn.

As a physical education teacher, Round Face currently is organizing a Fun Run and other healthy activities to help children combat Type 2 diabetes. Plans will be finalized at the MIEA’s next conference.

Round Face was appointed to this position at the beginning of the school year. More recently, Michael earned the National University System-Sanford Teacher Award. The award – which she received Nov. 26 – is given to educators who emphasize building relationships with their students.

Fifty-one teachers nationwide who gain this award receive $10,000; of those teachers, all are eligible to receive the national title – an award of $50,000.

Michael, a fifth grade teacher, feels humbled to receive the award “because of the students I work with,” she said, adding, “I spend a lot of time building relationships, and getting to know my kids, so we do a lot of activities.” In her class, she said, they take care of each other almost as much as she takes care of them.

Her education style is project-based and examples of this can be found nearly everywhere in her classroom. Upon entering, one can see a well-organized river ecosystem project, complete with small fish swimming around in it. Nearby is the hydroponics garden growing mint to make “bath bombs.”

Both projects are designed, she said, to teach not only kindness to each other, but also kindness to the land. In her classroom, through the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, the fifth graders wrote to a student in Haiti who lives in a village without clean water. They collected money around Halloween for this student and his village in the form of a penny drive.

UNICEF originally was created to provide emergency food and health care to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II.

“I’m just happy about it,” Principal Jason Cummins said of Round Face’s and Michael’s achievements, “because it show the caliber of staff we have at our school.”