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Special School District of St. Louis County

Key to the Classroom

Annual award honors outstanding teachers like Jean Huelsing

Nominate SSD teachers and other staff for a district award

Jean Huelsing, South Technical High School’s health science instructor, has a true passion for teaching, but her role at the school covers so much more than classroom instruction.

A key part of the health science curriculum includes the exploratory program, where Huelsing takes seniors into acute care settings at the hospital to get hands-on experience in healthcare-related fields. This year students are gaining experience at St. Anthony’s Hospital in South County.

“I believe in making the most of teachable moments. You teach kids when they don’t know they’re being taught,” Huelsing said.

Her ability to make the most of those teachable moments is one of the reasons Huelsing was honored with a 2010 Key to the Classroom award. The annual award honors outstanding SSD teachers for the impact they have on children throughout the district.

Huelsing, who is a registered nurse and holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri at Columbia, does her best to instill a sense of purpose in her students.

“As seniors, I require them to develop a road map to their future and a plan for how to get from where they are now to where they want to be,” she said. “I believe children can take responsibility for their own well-being.”

And Huelsing provides a living example of determination to her students, as evidenced by her work outside of the classroom. Through her vision and dedication, Huelsing opened Camp Jump Start, a summer weight loss camp for children, in 2003. The camp is held each summer at Living Well Village, a 250-acre facility in Imperial, Mo., which Huelsing calls home year round. Through the years the camp has helped hundreds of students live healthier lifestyles. The camp led Huelsing to form the non-profit Living Well Foundation in 2006.

While her work inside and outside the classroom keeps her extremely busy, Huelsing doesn’t see it as overwhelming.

“I love my job so much that if I could, I’d do it for free,” she said. “ As a nurse I do a really good job of taking care of one person and helping that one life. But as a teacher, it’s so much more powerful. I’ve educated a student who goes out and affects more people. It’s the whole ripple effect. As a teacher, you never know how far that effect has gone.”
Award Nominations
With more than 2,100 teachers, SSD boasts a wealth of excellent educators. The Key to the Classroom Award recognizes the achievements of these dedicated individuals. SSD also offers award programs for dedicated paraprofessionals and other SSD staff.

Parents, SSD staff, partner district staff or anyone in the community can nominate individuals. A committee will select multiple teachers to receive the award and one will be selected as the SSD Teacher of the Year. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 10, 2010

Click here to nominate a Teacher for the Key to the Classroom Award.

Click here to nominate a paraprofessional for the Building Block Award.

Click here to nominate other SSD staff (social workers, physical therapists, etc.) for the Lasting Impression Award.
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12110 Clayton Rd, Town & Country, MO 63131  /  314.989.8100  /  314.989.8552 – 711 (Missouri Relay)

Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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