UCS teacher named Michigan’s top educator for Social Studies
UCS teacher named Michigan’s top elementary educator for Social Studies
Posted on 04/27/2018
teacher with certificate and glass plaque

Put it in the history books – A Utica Community Schools teacher is the Michigan Elementary Social Studies Elementary Teacher of the Year.

Collins Elementary fifth grade teacher Theresa Van Sickle was honored as the Michigan’s top elementary social studies at the MCSS’s annual conference, held March 23-24 at the Macomb Intermediate School District.

“Utica Community Schools manages to remain one of the premier districts in Michigan because they recruit and retain outstanding teachers, and when they recognize great leadership potential among their own, they tap into it,” said Sean McBrady, Social Studies Consultant for the Macomb Intermediate School District, who nominated Van Sickle. “UCS has done this with one elementary teacher for the area of social studies. Theresa VanSickle is amazing.”

The educator of the year award honors Van Sickle for excelling in four areas:

-Developing and using instructional strategies that are creative and effective;

-Adhering to the rigors of the Michigan Social Studies standards while maintaining solid student relationships;

-Demonstrating an ability to foster citizenship in her students; and

-Her professional involvement and deep knowledge of social studies.

VanSickle said she approaches her teaching in a way that makes lessons stand out, such as getting the students engaged in their learning.  In a recent lesson, her 5th graders participated in an actual game of Tug of War between unequal teams to demonstrate how our country won their freedom in Revolutionary War despite their hardships.

“It is important to me that my students remember what they learned after they leave my class,” she said.

Van Sickle has held active leadership positions with the Michigan Social Studies Olympiad and has served on the MCSS Conference Planning Committee.

At Collins, Van Sickle is a Student Council advisor, a Destination Imagination School Coordinator, the Academically Talented and Gifted Advisor, a Social Studies Olympiad advisor and a PTO teacher representative.

McBrady noted that Van Sickle also works closely with the MISD to promote best practices for social studies education.

“She is passionate about social studies education and her students are lucky to have her,” he said.