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Long Beach Educator Named Toyota Teacher of the Year

Posted on 06/03/2013

Toyota Teacher of the Year, Long Beach
TEACHER OF THE YEAR – Carolyn Blocker, center, accepts the 2013 Toyota Teacher of the Year Award from at the National Conference on Family Literacy in Louisville, Ky. Joining her were LBUSD Family Literacy Program Facilitator Roberta Lanterman and LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser.
Credit: LBUSD

The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and Toyota announce that Carolyn Blocker, an educator from Long Beach, California, with nearly 25 years of experience, has received the 2013 Toyota Teacher of the Year award.

For 17 years, Toyota has sponsored the Teacher of the Year award in partnership with the National Center for Family Literacy to honor educators nationwide who reach beyond the classroom to impact families' lives.

Blocker has worked for the past seven years to improve the lives of more than 300 families as a parent education teacher at the Long Beach School for Adults External link opens in new window or tab. Blocker and her community's participants boast numerous achievements, including significant parent engagement and a 90 percent retention of families, despite facing hurdles ranging from economic challenges to language barriers.

In her position as parent educator in the Long Beach Family Literacy program, Carolyn has worked hard to empower parents as their children's first and most important teacher by extending learning to the home. From the monthly planner she provides students (courtesy of a local credit union), to her demonstration of how to make mini books without tape or a stapler, to her role playing demonstration of parent-child situations, Carolyn utilizes every resource she can find. The planner is used to help with time management and to document Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time® home activities. Invited community guest speakers include those from GED® testing, nutritional services, and libraries.

Pre- and post-tests of Carolyn's students show parents have made significant progress in supporting their children's learning environment at home and in their role in interactive literacy activities. This is a true testament to Carolyn's ability to reach parents and keep them engaged in their own learning and in working with their children.

As Teacher of the Year, Blocker has been awarded $20,000, which she plans to use to implement a program called Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead in the LBC. This new initiative will give families the opportunity to explore their Long Beach City community through the lens of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.), a curriculum framework that merges sciences and the arts. In this family engagement project, parents will attend regular workshops and plan five parent and child excursions in the community, exposing parents and children to a global educational approach while building a stronger workforce one family at a time.

Source: Long Beach School for Adults External link opens in new window or tab