January Teacher Innovator

Kennedy Junior High School teacher Lauren Story has nominated four of her colleagues in as many years for the OfficeMax Teacher Innovator Award.

And each time, those teachers have won.

“The nominations just really kind of write themselves,” said Story. “It’s not about how well I write them– it’s about the material they give me.”

This time, it’s language arts teacher, Charlotte Bunce, taking the monthly award given to District 203 educators.

“I feel like I’m in the best profession I could be in,” said Bunce. “I feel like I can really make a difference and I’m really getting the chance to plant some seeds for the future.”

She plants those seeds in her students as they learn through public speaking experience. In fact, Bunce’s class is known for its “One Minute Speeches.” Students pick a random topic out of a box and speak about it for one minute in front of the class.

“When they do have to speak in front of someone, it won’t be as petrifying,” said Bunce. “A lot of students tell me that [it] helped [them] get over that fear of speaking in front of others.”

The Teacher Innovator Award provides Bunce with a new printer, camera and a $400 gift certificate to OfficeMax.

Bunce will use some of that money to create a more exciting learning environment.

“All of the teachers I know put hundreds, even thousands of dollars, into the classroom from their money,” said Bunce.

Teachers like Bunce appreciate the continued support from Naperville-based OfficeMax.

“I think in turn, it says to these teachers, you keep doing what you’re doing, and we’ll be there to support you,” said District 203 Superintendent, Mark Mitrovich.

That support provides Bunce with some new resources to help her students enjoy the challenge of public speaking.

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