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Bringing Innovation to the Classroom: Natalie Deppe, Teacher Spotlight

Bringing Innovation to the Classroom: Natalie Deppe, Teacher Spotlight

“I’m going to be an uncle,” yelled one of Natalie Deppe’s students from the back of the classroom. Natalie had created a word scramble so her students could find out that she was pregnant. After the class solved the puzzle that said your teacher is having a baby, they all started jumping up and down.

This is a true example of the compassion and respect that Natalie embodies as a teacher. She creates an environment where students feel as if they are family and that they belong to her classroom and school community.

Natalie Deppe’s classroom is full of creativity and innovation. She wants her students to learn and be better every day after they leave her classroom. When asked how she likes to spend her spare time, she simply replied with, “I spend it thinking about what I can do better or what activity I can do next to help my kids learn.”

At times her room has been transformed to provide hands-on learning rather than just read the text. She knows that students learn best when they actually get to participate in the process. An Escape Room was used to get ready for testing (NWEA). An assembly line activity was used during a history lesson about Henry Ford. Kids were able to learn how a car was created and how each person on the assembly line brings an important part to the creation of a car. Their classroom was also transformed into a hospital so that students could perform “surgery” on nonfiction texts. These are just a few of the examples that happen daily.

Deppe always wanted to be a teacher ever since she can remember. Her past teachers always inspired her and she wanted to have a similar impact on others. One of her defining moments of clarity was when a student said, Miss Deppe, what do you have up your sleeve for us today? That did it for me. I finally had students that wanted to be in school because they wanted to see what I was going to teach next. This was rewarding and so great,” Deppe commented.

Deppe took an alternate route through Grand Rapids Community College and Ferris State University to obtain her teaching degree and loved every minute of it. After graduation, she started to apply everywhere and landed an interview with Choice Schools Associates for a Three Oaks teaching position.

When she interviewed at Three Oaks, it felt like family from the beginning. Monecia Vasbinder, principal at Three Oaks Public School Academy, made a positive impact from the first time they met. Natalie said she has been a great inspiration and supporter.

“Natalie creates classroom transformations and finds ways to immerse the students in a learning experience that makes learning fun for her as the teacher and the children. She believes in her students and their ability to achieve. Many people say they have high expectations, but Natalie lives it in everything she does in her classroom,” said Monecia Vasbinder.

Deppe is also a life long learner and is always seeking opportunities to be a better educator in her classroom. She even uses social media when appropriate. She found out about a dynamic conference through Instagram called Get Your Teach On (#getyourteachon). She raised enough money through a GoFundMe page to attend the conference and came back with tons of energy and ideas that she shared with staff. The conference introduced new and engaging concepts, activities and guides on how to teach better with today’s student. The conference was motivating and she hopes to go again in the future.

Three Oaks is the right fit for Deppe and she loves that the staff is her second family. “The staff here is second to none. The teachers that I work alongside are incredible. I love watching them teach and I enjoy learning from them and using their skills in my own practice. I love that so many have been serving this area and still see the purpose and magic behind teaching. I also have so much support here. I feel like administration believes in me and does what they can to support my teaching. It’s a great feeling!”

We have been awarded the Michigan School Wellness Award!

We have been awarded the Michigan School Wellness Award!

We are proud to announce that we have been awarded the Michigan School Wellness Silver Award! We received this honor for our efforts to create a healthy school environment through physical education and encouraging students to lead healthy lifestyles. We have also implemented sustainable policies and environmental changes.

This award is given through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Education, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Action for Healthy Kids

We  will be recognized at a special ceremony on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at the State Capitol Building in Lansing.

Way to go!

Three Oaks Public School Academy gives back through Mugs of Love Fundraiser for Muskegon’s homeless

Three Oaks Public School Academy gives back through Mugs of Love Fundraiser for Muskegon’s homeless

“Do what you can to show you care about other people, and you will make our world a better place,” Rosalynn Carter, former first lady of the United States said.

And she is not wrong. Three Oaks Public School Academy is making a difference for those right in their own community.

The 17 member student council at Three Oaks Public School Academy have been busy collecting mugs and items for their Mugs of Love fundraiser to help the homeless.

Each mug that they created contained a pair of socks, shampoo and conditioner, hot cocoa or coffee, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, snacks and some sanitary products.

They brought the mugs to the Supper House at Temple United Methodist Church. While they were there, they were able to volunteer by serving a hot meal.

“My hope is that through this experience they will see the world beyond school, and recognize that they are an intricate part in it. If they want, they can make a difference and do something to help,” Amanda Cummins Special Education and Behavioral Specialist Teacher and student council advisor of Three Oaks Public School Academy commented.

The best part were the lessons learned and the conversations the students had.

“It is incredible seeing students walking around, serving the community, and having conversations with the people that come in the Supper House,” Cummins said. “I am so thankful that we can be part of our community in this way.”

“I learned that no matter what people insides are like, and no matter what they look like, you have to care for them respectfully” Janasha Pritchett, student at Three Oaks Public School Academy said.

“Everything was so awesome. I loved serving people, passing out drinks and food, and our mugs” Nessaria Davis, student at Three Oaks Public School Academy said.

Parents loved being involved with the project as well.

“I’m excited for my son to do this because it’s a learning experience for them. The future is so unpredictable,” commented one of the parents. “There are times when there are families who lost their jobs and we might need help ourselves, so you need to always be good to them, and they will be good to you.”

Hip Hip Hooray! It’s almost Spring Break!

Hip Hip Hooray! It’s almost Spring Break!

Whatever you have planned for spring break, we hope you have a blast. Whether you are relaxing on a beach in Florida or enjoying a staycation, below is a list of ideas to rejuvenate and refresh over the next week! 

  • Take a walk outside and enjoy the fresh air.
  • Read a book.
  • Meet up with a friend that you haven’t seen in a long time.
  • Visit a local museum.
  • Eat at a restaurant that you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Listen to music that lifts your spirits up.

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