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First grade teacher named MN Teacher of the Year semifinalist

First grade teacher Robyn Hassani has been named a semifinalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year! She teaches 100% online learners at Andersen and Lake Elmo elementaries. Hassani is among just 25 educators across the state who advanced in the awards program. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through grade 12 instructors and Early Childhood Family Education and Adult Basic Education teachers from both public and private schools. Later this month, a panel will cut the list to no more than 10 finalists.

Hassani has been teaching for 15 years. For the past 3 1/2 years she’s been at Andersen where she helped to establish the Green Room - a safe place for students to go when they are feeling anxious or struggling to manage their behaviors. This year, Hassani was asked to teach first grade online where she has a class combined of Andersen and Lake Elmo students. Her favorite thing about teaching in-person and online is the joy she gets to see on students' faces when they have a newly discovered confidence. She said the Teacher of the Year nomination means even more coming during a challenging school year.

“In a year of so many uncertainties about what online school should look and feel like, I was determined to make it feel as much like ‘real’ school as possible,” said Hassani. “I worked hard to build a sense of community in our class (across schools) and have friendships thrive. I am so thrilled that students are having a positive experience learning and growing online.”

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