April 4, 2016
Street Law, Inc. is pleased to announce that Andrea Fazel, a law and government teacher at Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory High School in Sacramento, California, is its 2016 Educator of the Year. This award is given annually to a classroom teacher who educates students in an exceptional manner and uses Street Law materials. It was presented at the organization's annual awards gala in Washington, DC on April 27, 2016.
This is Andrea’s 14th year in the classroom. She began her career as an English teacher, and took a six-year hiatus from 2003 to 2009 to earn her law degree and work at a nonprofit organization to develop law-related curricula that ensure safe and inclusive schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Andrea has been teaching law and government classes since her return to the classroom in 2009. She was drawn to teaching civics because she believes that her passion for the topic can help to instill essential civic and life skills in her students. At the beginning of each course, Andrea tells students that her law and government classes are the most practical classes they will take in high school, regardless of what they major in or what careers they choose, because her class will provide them with the skills needed to exercise power in their communities and achieve the goals they care about. She provides her students with interactive coursework—debates, Socratic seminars, deliberations, mock trials and moot courts, and simulations—to ensure that they graduate from her classes with an acute understanding of their own roles within the institutions of government, politics, and the legal system.
Andrea has been extremely active in cementing the status of Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory High School (NP3) as a top-rated law-themed high school. NP3 has been named by US News and World Report as one of America’s Best High Schools for the past three years. NP3 has twice been awarded the California Civic Learning Award of Distinction. This year, NP3 was awarded the Civic Award of Excellence, one of only 3 schools in the state to receive this honor, and the only school in Northern California to receive this award.
With two colleagues, Andrea co-created the school's senior project graduation requirement, which requires students to identify and address an issue in their community that they care about, ensuring a hands-on component of their civic education. As new law teachers have come on staff, she has been directly involved in helping them develop their own teaching practice. She serves as a lead teacher in her department and as a mentor for department colleagues. In addition, she coaches the school's moot court competition team.
Andrea has been using Street Law materials since her very first year teaching law and government. Street Law’s curricula currently assist Andrea in all of her classes: Criminal Law (10th grade), Honors Constitutional Law in American History (11th grade), American Government/International Relations (12th grade), and AP US Government & Politics (12th grade). She is also a proud alumna of the Street Law Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers. She credits the Institute for helping her develop skills to teach complex legal concepts and cases in an accessible and engaging way.
(Reproduced with permission)
Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers