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November 11, 2011 > Teachers honored by Office Max

Teachers honored by Office Max

Article and photos submitted by Beth Cleveland and Rick LaPlante

Across California, 75 teachers were honored by Office Max on "A Day Made Better." Representatives from the company visited the multiple awardees, to surprise them in their classrooms. In our region, three dedicated teachers were so honored: Betina Hsieh of Cesar Chavez Middle School in Hayward; Desirae Christoffersen of Palma Ceia Elementary School, Hayward; and Pete Quesinberry of Cesar Chavez Middle School in Union City.

OfficeMax and Adopt-A-Classroom work with school principals nationwide, each year, to select and recognize 1,000 deserving teachers with an "A Day Made Better" award and $1,000 in classroom supplies donated by OfficeMax. School Principals can nominate a teacher based on 1) passion for teaching, 2) innovation in the classroom; and 3) dedication to the profession and the success of their students.

This award is much appreciated by teachers, as many spend roughly $1,000 out of their own pockets every school year to ensure that their students have the necessary classroom resources for learning.

The recognized teachers received a digital camera, swivel chair, and large box containing essential classroom supplies - a total donation valued at $1,000.

Since 2007, OfficeMax's A Day Made Better and Adopt-A-Classroom have funded more than 4,500 classrooms with more than $4.5 million in grants and school supplies, and helped secure funding for more than 66,000 classrooms annually through donations to Adopt-A-Classroom.

Here are portions from the teachers' nomination forms, as written by their school principals:

"Ms. Hsieh is an amazing teacher. For the past ten years, she has taught math, English and history (basically, any subject we needed to fill.) She understands her students and the learning process to a degree that is exceptional. She is uncompromising in her quest for quality educational opportunities for all young people, and she engages her students in problem solving, critical thinking and a wide variety of meaningful activities. In addition, she has tremendous interpersonal skills; she is articulate and is very tactful. A few years ago, she even went as far to adopt two 2 girls who had been her students previously and needed a home."

"Desirae Christoffersen cares about her students, and as a result, her students work very hard to meet her expectations. She treats all students and adults with respect and is a very generous person. Her students admire her because she prepares her lessons well and makes sure all of her kids receive individual attention everyday from her. This means she sacrifices her personal time to tutor them and give them the extra help that they need to succeed."

"Pete Quesinberry has always looked for challenges, and this past year he changed his grading system to allow for students to be measured for what they mastered," Principal Solorzano said. "He also pushed students every day to learn new concepts in algebra. His pass rate was 95 percent, and he continues to execute strategies that help all learn algebra. He also opened up his classroom during his lunch to allow for interventions as well as after school."

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