A local teacher was surprised with the prestigious Milken Educator Award Tuesday.
Kristen Lents teaches math at Brownsburg’s non-traditional high school, Harris Academy.
Regarded as a leader by her peers, Lents mentors new teachers and leads Harris Academy’s remediation program and math professional learning community. She is involved in professional development both at Harris Academy and at Brownsburg High School. Lents secured a grant to obtain licenses for IXL Math, an online skill-building tool that has helped her target and individualize instruction for her students; BHS has now incorporated the program into its math curriculum as well.
Lents engages students by creating math lessons with built-in real-world relevance and incorporating project-based learning, goal-oriented strategies and deftly deployed technology into her classes. Her multipronged approach is adaptable in aiding busy teen parents, students with health issues, working students and others with real-life challenges. Her varied approach helps her students gain confidence and competence in math that will serve them as they pursue their goals in higher education and in life.
"Kristen Lents is a gifted teacher whose greatest gift may be reaching those who are really struggling," Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley says.
According to the Indiana Department of Education, 98 percent of Lents’ students earned their math credits last year.
“We trying to catch them up. We have this broad range of situations in the classroom that we have to work through day in and day out. And then also teach them the content as well,” says Lents.
Lents will receive a $25,000 cash award. She is the only Milken Educator Award winner from Indiana this year, and is among the 44 honorees nationwide for 2017-18.
The Milken Educator Awards has been hailed by Teacher magazine as the “Oscars of Teaching.”