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“”LA CROSSE, Wis., (November 18, 2021) – In recognition of inspirational teaching nationwide, La Crosse Polytechnic School teacher Dr. Maggie McHugh has been named the National University Teacher Award Midwest Regional winner.

During a time of unprecedented challenges for teachers nationwide, the National University Teacher Award honored the top teacher in each region with $10,000 for supporting student development and achievement in inspirational and harmonious ways and a full scholarship to earn a Master’s degree at National University in Social Emotional Learning, the first program of its kind in the United States.

The award recognizes teachers who demonstrate high levels of inspirational teaching practices by engaging students, building student confidence, creating an inclusive environment, motivating students to succeed, and giving students a voice. Each teacher recipient is now eligible to be named the winner of the National University Teacher Award, which includes $50,000 and will be announced at a future date

“This award focuses on social emotional learning in the classroom – the skills and capabilities for students to regulate their emotions and work collaboratively with one another,” said Dr. McHugh. “These are the skills that are needed for life. To me, being honored as a teacher who focuses on that really gets to the core of who we are as educators. We’re here for students to learn and grow, not just in their academic content but more importantly as young adults who are getting ready to change the world.”

The regional awardees were selected by a committee of educators and faculty based on an application process that included professional information and videos provided by each teacher.

Dr. McHugh prides herself on teaching students how—not what—to learn. Her educational philosophy is helping students shape personalized educational experiences where they learn from mistakes, persevere through iteration, and reflect upon growth. Under her watch, each student designs a challenging interdisciplinary project centered on a driving question that is personally interesting to them. The process requires students to learn every subject imaginable. For example, one of her students is designing a luxury cruise liner that cleans pollution from the ocean. The student has to study the Earth’s oceans and currents, apply engineering skills, investigate national and international laws, create scale models, and communicate effectively.

“Teaching is the essential profession, the profession that makes all others possible,” said National University System Chancellor Dr. Michael Cunningham. “Teachers are the single greatest influence on student learning in school and play a significant role in helping students grow socially and emotionally as well as academically. The National University Teacher Award is a way for us to celebrate the contributions of inspiring teachers who give so much to their schools and communities and help children to reach their greatest potential.”

The 2021 awardees will join last year’s cohort of recipients, continue to work with Harmony SEL and Inspire Teaching and Learning and receive training in communications and advocacy for teaching that is inspirational and grounded in social and emotional development.””””[vc_single_image image=”19612″ img_size=”625×417″ alignment=”center”]””