JP teacher wins national education award

August 15, 2014
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Christopher Hoeh, a Jamaica Plain resident and second-grade teacher at Cambridge Friends School in Cambridge, was awarded one of five 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Hoeh told the Gazette his curriculum, focused on the process of creating cotton clothing, was responsible for his win.

“The history of cotton-growing and clothing production was a primary context in which people of color, immigrants, white allies, and women used the power of literacy, language, numeracy, strategic decision-making, and academic skills to defeat oppression,” he said. “This study acknowledges the fact of injustice and counters the destructive narrative of white male supremacy.”

“The students learn that people of all identities can use their intellectual and creative capacities to improve our world while the students have authentic opportunities to apply their developing critical thinking, reading, writing, public speaking, mathematics, social and artistic skills,” he added.

The 30-plus-year veteran of classrooms has been at Cambridge Friends School since 1997.

The school “has a deep commitment to social justice and anti-bias education, differentiated instruction, and academic achievement. The community includes inspiring educators who reflect on practice and encourage innovative teaching so children from all backgrounds with a wide range of abilities can achieve,” he said.

Hoeh has worked with LGBT and Civil Rights events and programs. He also helped found and continues to be the director of the Jamaica Plain Youth Soccer Academy, which provides a developmental program for children of all abilities in the city of Boston.

To qualify for the award, teachers must have demonstrated excellence in research-based classroom practices aimed at reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and creating an equitable school environment. Each awardee received $2,500.

The awards were given in Montgomery, Ala., last month.

More information on the award and other winners can be found at tolerance.org/blog/meet-2014-teaching-tolerance-award-winners.

Christopher Hoeh with his Teaching Tolerance Award. (Courtesy Photo)

Christopher Hoeh with his Teaching Tolerance Award. (Courtesy Photo)