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History Teacher Of The Year Lauded For Laie Curriculum

Colleen Spring

Inspiring children to dig into history is paying off in a big way at Laie Elementary School as it honors Colleen Spring in a special ceremony today (Oct. 2) for her role in their achievements.

Spring is Hawaii’s 2013 History Teacher of the Year, which comes with a $1,000 honorarium and a collection of history books and materials for the school library. A veteran of 20 years at Laie, Spring has marshalled her charges into winning local and national acclaim for their take on history through live drama.

“Colleen has been a leader in introducing elementary school students to the importance of learning from primary source documents and using these to create History Day projects, especially performances, that show the power, relevance and contemporary significance of history,” said Bob Buss, executive director of Hawaii Council for the Humanities. The HCH and the Gilder Lehrman Institute co-sponsored the 2013 award, which singles out the best teachers in grades K-6. (Next year will be for middle or high school awardees.)

Spring brought the We the People, the Citizen and the Constitution curriculum to Laie in recent years, setting her fifth-graders on the road to understanding democracy and winning competitions about it. For the past five years, her students have qualified for and competed at National History Day in Maryland.

The award also comes with an invitation to the 2014 Gilder Lehrman teacher seminar and naming Laie a Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School. The nonprofit institute supports the improvement of history education and shares its collection of 60,000 unique documents.