DENVER (CBS4) – Problems facing the education system in America is a widely-known topic, but from coast to coast there are teachers using passion, innovation and their unique skills to make a big difference in their students’ lives. On Friday night a CBS special takes a look at four of those special educators, and two are from Denver.
The ninth grade math class at Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College in Denver looks different than other classes. The students are standing, doing their problems for everyone to see.
“The second part of our classroom for 360 is that all students go to their boards and practice together,” teacher Lindsay Chinn said.
“360-degree math” is unique to the school and guided by Chinn. She caught the eye of producers of a CBS education special, “Teach.”
“I think what is different about my classroom is the family aspect; the relationships that we build,” Chinn said.
But she’s also trying to instill a love of math.
“The kids are the show. They do all the work and I get to watch and give them feedback all day,” Chinn said.
In another Denver classroom at McGlone Elementary in Montbello teacher Matt Johnson has the students in his corner.
“He is a cool teacher to have,” one young student said.
“Like if we get stuck on things, he helps us,” another said.
Johnson is approachable and inclusive, trying to unite them in academic goals while highlighting their differences.
“I like them to bring artifacts from their home into the classroom so they can see the value of their cultural experiences in an educational setting as well,” Johnson said.
The two Colorado teachers who will be in the spotlight nationally would prefer to deflect the attention to others.
“My kids should be the stars though. They’re the ones who do all the work. I just show up,” Chinn said.
See Chinn, Johnson and two other teachers making a difference in the classroom this Friday night on “Teach.” Queen Latifah hosts the special and other celebrities will make appearances as well. It starts at 7 p.m. on CBS4.