Position: Science Teacher
School: Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy
School District: Detroit Public Schools Community District
City, State: Detroit, Michigan
About the Nominee: Amy Lazarowicz was nominated by Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) superintendent, Alycia Mayweather. Mrs. Lazarowicz is more than just a science teacher. She is the epitome of what it means to be a community educator and leader for her students. She has the ability to teach lessons that are both rigorous and engaging, with a strong focus on her students becoming stewards of the environment and their community. Mrs. Lazarowicz – with the help of her third, fourth and fifth grade classes – works exceptionally hard to maintain the outdoor classroom at Neinas Elementary School. This year, they’ve nurtured and studied onions, cabbage and potatoes among other vegetables that are made available to students and neighborhood families. Mrs. Lazarowicz also ensures that students stay engaged through the use of hands-on activities. She has organized various field trips to guarantee students make connections between the real-world and their classroom learning. Additionally, Mrs. Lazarowicz recently led her school to DPSCD RecycleBowl victory! Over the course of four weeks, they collected more than 300 pounds of recyclables. The school is a vibrant community, where teachers and students support one another and are fired up with a fierce competitive spirit.
Mrs. Lazarowicz and Neinas students in grades 3-5 recently presented at the SEMIS Coalition Community Forum at the Eastern Michigan University Student Center. They discussed how they went from working in silos to coming together as a community to create a new vision for their neighborhood space that had been blighted for over 12 years. Through school and community engagement, this group worked to create a vision for their Southwest Detroit Community and turned three burned and empty lots into hope for the future.
Under her leadership in the Science program, Neinas has completed every project released by the district's DPSCD Go Green Program. The students are very excited to learn about gardening and recycling through these projects. One student exclaimed: “We know what to recycle. And we love recycling!” Just recently, Neinas conducted their own recycle bin competition, where every class decorated their bin in competition for the best overall decoration.
The impact that Mrs. Lazarowicz has had and continues to have on her students, fellow educators and community exemplifies what DPSCD teachers should always be - dedicated, caring, able to see the bigger picture and doing it all with patience, a love for learning and compassion.