Mrs. Sutherland has a unique approach to teaching. She says connecting with students is all about relationships. So she spends a lot of time in and out of class trying to build those relationships.
Before this school year started, she had all of her students over to her house for a "potluck" dinner. It was a chance to get to know them, and for them to get to know each other. She spends a lot of time going to her student's out-of- class events.
Things like theater productions, and sporting events. And she takes a personal interest in their lives. When one student's mom was in the hospital, Mrs. Sutherland provided dinners for his family.
She says that not only do her students learn a lot from her, but she learns a lot from them. That's why she lets them have a big say in how class projects will go.
It's why her class is a lot more than learning math or history, it's about learning life's lessons.
And then there's the baking. When she's not teaching, going to student events, or working on lesson plans, Mrs. Sutherland spends a lot of time baking. She's a blue ribbon award winner at the Jefferson County Fair. Her students benefit from her expertise.
"I love it when she bakes for us," one of them told us. "It's really nice because she bakes cookies, brownies and a bunch of other things." Another one described her cookies as "gooey on the inside, and always pretty warm."
And another student said "Yesterday we had pink-lemonade cookies!"
Cookies, connection, concern, it's all part of what makes Donna Sutherland so special. Congratulations on being chosen the March winner of the 9Teachers Who Care Award.
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