Dear KSL Teacher Feature Panel,
I wish to nominate Mr. Osborne (OZ) a Science Teacher in the Granite School Districts, Youth Educational Support Services Program (YESS) for the KSL Teacher Feature Award.
With regard to this award, he has made unique and significant contributions to at-risk youth, their lives and school experience at Salt Lake Observation and Assessment (O & A) that seem to be quite unparalleled. Mr. Osborne incorporates a variety of strategies that create an effective learning environment for at-risk youth. His philosophy is simple; learning is a partnership in which the students have to take a proactive part.
I have frequently stood in awe as his students speak of the impact and change he has made on their lives. Students at O&A repeatedly comment about his outstanding hands-on teaching style, how he builds their self-esteem and leads them toward productive maturity as they prepare to reenter the community. He truly believes that if teachers aim at saving as many of these students as they can, they will make a difference somewhere.
While others have given up on these young men and women, Mr. Osborne is constantly challenging our population of learners with new and exciting ideas that pertain to core standards, real life situations and future careers.
He recently created an exceptional cross curricular activity that landed us at local cemeteries. The trip is of historical and scientific value for everyone involved. Students learn to infer meanings from symbols on various tombstones, discuss weathering effects on the burial sites and gather information about those at rest through quotes and descriptions listed on the headstones. Teaching at-risk youth to learn difficult scientific/history subject matter while having fun… what an amazing concept!!
That being said, at-risk youth begin to understand that learning can be enjoyable; in turn they gain confidence in their abilities. Consequently, students at O&A become thirsty for knowledge, in the end submitting required work in a complete and organized fashioned. More importantly, they realize the significance of their education and the positive impact it will have on their lives.
During a recent exit staffing a resident wrote about Mr. Osborne saying: “I am glad I got the opportunity to be one of OZ’s students. He showed me that I can build a relationship with a teacher who cares. I am going to miss his jokes, he is such an amazing teacher and I am happy for anyone who gets a chance to be in his class. He gave me hope, determination and the motivation that I needed to get back on track in life and school.” WOW, pretty strong praise form a young person considered ‘at-risk’ for school failure and other adverse life outcomes.
As a counselor at O&A, I have worked in collaboration with Mr. Osborne for several years, and marveled at his meticulous contributions and commitment to at-risk youth. In view of his dedicated, successful and important career, it would be most appropriate to award the KSL Teacher Feature Award to Mr. Osborne. In fact, I cannot imagine a more worthy candidate.