Sageland Elementary School Principal Rachael Blair has won the 2019 Rookie of the Year Award from a global education organization for supporting and sustaining an exceptional MicroSociety program, which uses real-world learning environments to motivate students to succeed.
“This year, I took a group of 10 teachers to the conference who had never gone before in order to increase their training and knowledge of MicroSociety,” Blair said. “When we got there, they made a big point of telling us about one event in particular, how we really needed to attend – and that’s where they announced it. It was a big surprise, but it is definitely an honor!”
Blair, who became principal of Sageland Elementary in July 2018, received the honor from leading international nonprofit organization MicroSociety, which provides professional development, curriculum, and support to K-12 schools around the globe to implement its hands-on, experiential learning model.
Blair says at a particular time during the school day, the MicroSociety program at Sageland Elementary basically “turns the school into a little city. Kids become entrepreneurs. They are peacekeepers who monitor the hallways. They apply for jobs, keep a checkbook, do their banking, etc. It’s a big thing here at Sageland since it started in 1993, and my goal is to help it evolve.”
The Rookie of the Year award is part of the “George Awards,” which are named after the group’s founder Dr. George H. Richmond, and recognize outstanding achievement of students, parents, and community partners in real-world learning.
MicroSociety programs aim to educate the whole child by improving academic achievement while addressing critical issues of self-esteem, personal responsibility, social engagement, and 21st-century skills development.
“Principal Blair is breathing new life into Sageland,” MicroSociety officials said, adding that Sageland is the longest-running MicroSociety school in its global network. “She has embraced the model as a strategy for the 21st-century-learning benefits it offers her school community, and is committed to bringing the school back to its glory days and beyond.”
She was announced as the winner at the MicroSociety’s 27th annual International Conference, which took place over the summer in Tulsa, Oklahoma.