The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) 2009 Teacher of the Year has earned another honor. Daniel Watts, a Juvenile Court Schools teacher at Carson Creek Jr./Sr. High School, is being honored as October 2008's Teacher of the Month by KXTV News 10 and California State University, Sacramento.
Watts, a Roseville resident, teaches graphic arts and works with detained, at-risk students. Carson Creek is located within the Sacramento County Boys Ranch juvenile facility operated by the Sacramento County Probation Department.
"At-risk youth still have a lot to offer the world and their communities," Watts said. "Too many of our youth are falling through the cracks and I see the Boys Ranch as their last hope of turning their life around. I have a very important job that I take seriously and I want to show my students that learning new things can be exciting and there still is hope for them and that this is the beginning of their lives and not the end."
In his classes, Watts holds a weekly art contest where students compete for prizes. The contest teaches students how to work together successfully. He also developed a student teaching assistant program allowing students to earn the right to assist in the classroom while learning leadership skills and responsibility.
Watts developed an entrepreneur program with his class that provides graphic arts design services to SCOE staff and the public. The program and its students have created designed logos for several SCOE campuses and projects.
"Daniel Watts is an enthusiastic teacher who brings creativity into the classroom," said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon. "He is able to motivate our students with cutting-edge Career-Technical Education curriculum and projects."
In addition, students in the Carson Creek graphic arts class now benefit from a partnership with The Arts Institute of Sacramento. Every three months, a representative from the institute visits with students, makes presentations, and talks about career opportunities in digital media and design.
"Daniel really cares for the students and they respond positively to that. He's teaching them something that allows them to express their creativity, yet has a real-world application. His class always has a waiting list because it's so popular among the students," said Tim Collins, Chief Deputy for the Sacramento County Probation Department.
On the second Friday of each month, News 10 salutes those who devote themselves to teaching and make a difference in children's lives. In a special ceremony on June 5, 2008, one teacher will be named "Esquire IMAX/News 10 Teacher of the Year."