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Teacher Appreciation Month

DreamBox Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Month

Thanking inside the 'Box'

We couldn’t let Teacher Appreciation month go by without giving our own DreamBox team the opportunity to thank the educators who in some way helped them to become the talented teachers, designers, engineers, and parents they are today.

We recently invited our colleagues to go on the record with their teacher appreciations, and the five stories featured in this post made the cut. Of course, it should come as no surprise that the team charged with building and designing DreamBox’s curriculum was influenced most by those teachers who approached their subjects with creativity and innovation. Whether it was spraying shaving cream on a desktop, or building bridges out of toothpicks, these educators knew the value of a good visual and how to create a learning environment that was truly interactive and engaging. Today, the students have become the teachers, and they’re paying it forward by creating technology that’s lighting the way for the next generation of educators.

You can read brief highlights from their appreciations below, but they tell their stories so much better than I ever could. Watch the short reel now so you can see the people behind the product and put faces with names.

“Thank you Mr. Fenoli, and all the other great STEM teachers out there, who empower girls to pursue careers in technology fields.”
DreamBox product manager Sri Remala talks about the high school science teacher who started each class by hiking up his pants and encouraging everyone to embrace their inner geek. He helped to kindle in her a passion for science, which led Sri to study engineering and computer science in college, and eventually pursue a career at DreamBox.

“Thank you Professor Bartolini for not only teaching me math, but how to be a better father.”
After struggling with math in middle school, DreamBox senior director of engineering Lorenzo Pasqualis remembers the moment in junior high when it all started to make sense. Professor Luciano Bartolini had a different way of teaching math. He was able to visualize difficult concepts in a way that resonated with Lorenzo back then, and continues to inform his work years later. Lorenzo tries to bring a little bit of Professor Bartolini to the classroom every day through DreamBox.

“Thanks Mr. Petersen for teaching me how to apply math to everyday problems, and to think like a mathematician.”
For DreamBox curriculum manager David Woods, the projects his math teacher assigned him in high school stand the test of time because they taught him practical skills he could later apply to real-world situations. For example, when it came time to study interest rates, Mr. Petersen instructed his students to go car shopping. They had to pick out a car they liked, research loan rates, and calculate how much it would actually cost them over time to buy the vehicle of their dreams. Applying math doesn’t get much more interactive, personalized, or relevant than that.

“Thank you Mrs. Benaltabe for making math new and exciting.”
Senior curriculum designer Kelly Urlacher credits her third-grade teacher for bringing innovative ideas to the classroom. Whether it was spraying shaving cream on students’ desks to drive home a math concept or encouraging them to share their ideas and opinions with their peers, Mrs. Benaltabe’s open-ended approach to teaching is something Kelly strives to emulate in her role as a curriculum designer for DreamBox.

“Thank you Mr. Woodard for being the first teacher to really challenge me.”
DreamBox curriculum developer Joe Trahan appreciates his eighth-grade social studies teacher for recognizing his potential and pushing him to be his best. Mr. Woodard treated Joe like an adult, assured him he could do better, and worked with him before, during, and after class to show him how to become a more mature student.

NOTE: We’ll be wrapping our month-long tribute to teachers next week with one final appreciation from DreamBox Nation. Stay tuned!

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