Michelle Ward is a high school math teacher at Colorado Connections Academy (ColoCA). She began teaching in 2011 and joined the ColoCA community in 2015. Mrs. Ward earned her BS in merchandising management from Virginia Tech, and her MAT in mathematics education from Georgia State University. She shares more about her teaching career below.
"I always admired my teachers, especially in high school. They supported my classmates and me by working with us after school, attending school events, coaching our sports teams, etc. While I did not initially go to college to become a teacher, I decided to go back to school to pursue mathematics education after working in the corporate environment for a couple years. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my high school teachers and instill excitement for math in my students.
At ColoCA, I am able to customize students’ learning and courses to meet their individual needs while still meeting the state standards and graduation requirements. I can identify their strengths and weaknesses by talking to them one-on-one through real-time online sessions, Webmail, and phone calls. I feel that I get to know my students and their families on a more personal level than I would in a traditional classroom setting. I am also able to attend more events such as school picnics and field trips, where I learn about my students’ interests and hobbies.
ColoCA offers many courses that may not be offered at a bricks-and-mortar school. Some of our electives really cater to the interests of students, so they can see if it is a career or field they wish to pursue after high school. Many post-secondary schools, programs, and careers are moving towards an online environment or will require technical skills. Our students become proficient in communicating and working online.
Even though our students live all over the state, ColoCA is a very tight-knit community. When I meet students for the first time at schoolwide events, I already feel like I have known them for a while. Some students are with us from kindergarten through 12th grade, so we get to know them and their families for up to 13 years instead of four, which is how long they are usually at a traditional bricks-and-mortar high school."
When Mrs. Ward is not teaching, she enjoys skiing, snowboarding, hiking, walking her three dogs, and spending time at the lake with her husband.
At ColoCA, I am able to customize students’ learning and courses to meet their individual needs while still meeting the state standards and graduation requirements.