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Bob McMichael Awarded NWPE New Classroom Start Up Grant
posted by: Cindy Omlin | February 27, 2014, 10:49 PM   

Congratulations to Mr. Bob McMichael, a 7-12th grade language arts teacher at Cambridge Jr./Sr. High School in Cambridge, ID.   A new member of Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE), Mr. McMichael was awarded a $250 NWPE New Classroom Start-Up Grant on February 26, 2014 by Ms. Leah Guelker, an NWPE representative.

bob mcmichael leah guelker clipMr. McMichael will use the funds to purchase a Google Chromebook to assist students in writing and formatting essays.  Northwest Professional Educators is happy to provide Mr. McMichael with this New Classroom Start-Up Grant to enhance student learning.

Mr. McMichael left a successful business career to teach in college prior to his entry into secondary education.  Unfulfilled by his business career, and after realizing that the most important people in his life were junior high and high school teachers, he tried his hand at being a high school teacher.  “Although my first year was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it’s the accomplishment I’m most proud of. This summer, I uprooted my family from our home of 10 years and bought a house in this tiny community and have committed to spend the rest of my professional life teaching here. My junior high English teacher, Mr. Huck, is responsible, not only for this latest direction but largely for my success in everything I’ve attempted because he helped open my mind to the unfathomable benefits of learning. What motivates me to continue at school every day is just that: the hope and the opportunity that I might be a Mr. Huck to one of my students.”

According to Mr. McMichael, teaching hasn’t been without its challenges or surprises (as all educators know). “My biggest challenge or surprise as a secondary educator has been how to address the radical difference in learning levels within one grade level while serving all of my students,” states Mr. McMichael.  “Fortunately, I have very small class sizes compared to many of my teacher friends, so I have lots of one-one-one opportunities and feel I can make a difference in this type of environment.”   To his surprise, his greatest satisfaction has been “the unexpected moments of near-miracle when a certain struggling student gets it or makes a comment witnessing some spark in the brain that
excites him or her.”

Mr. McMichael appreciates having a choice of professional associations believing that teacher choice enhances student achievement and public education as a free marketplace of ideas.  “Not all professional organizations are alike, and so to have a choice of which organization to join or participate in is critical to promote sincere professional development among teachers. If teachers are the pedagogical fulcrum, then the stuff they get out of the professional organizations they resonate with will certainly benefit their charges in the classroom which, by extension, promotes public education as a free market of ideas.”

The public perception of teacher professionalism, according to Mr. McMichael, would be enhanced if teachers capitalize on their students’ achievements.  “I think the best way to raise the
perceived professionalism of teaching as a career is to let students highlight what they have learned at school. More positive coverage by news organizations and social media of students who learned something special in school would help in this regard. The magazine project we’re embarking on in Cambridge is an attempt to let students show what they know and what they’ve learned while simultaneously foregrounding their school as the launching pad.”

NWPE is proud to reward educators like Mr. McMichael for their hard work and creativity in the classroom. His award is well-deserved as he seeks ways to increase student achievement.

NWPE awards teacher scholarships and classroom grants up to $500 and $250 new classroom start-up grants. All educators are eligible for the awards although NWPE members receive first preference.  The next application deadline is October 1, 2014. See more at

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