BY GABE LICHT
BY TRACI LAWMAN
Delano Public Schools Communications Coordinator
DELANO, MN Charlene Warne, a third-grade teacher at Delano Elementary School, has been selected as Delano Public Schools 2017 Teacher of the Year by her colleagues, and is one of 132 teachers in the running for Minnesota Teacher of the Year.
Warne said her teaching philosophy embraces the whole child. She believes that every child deserves to learn something new each day in her classroom. Whether they are a struggling learner, at grade level, or a gifted learner, she tailors her instruction to meet the needs of each of her students.
Warne is known for thinking out loud while she teaches. This enables her students to understand the step-by-step thinking process. She demonstrates her thinking through a written step-by-step process or hands-on activity. She then ensures her students understand by having them restate what they have learned or explain the task that needs to be completed by the student.
“As a classroom teacher, there are demands from the district, state, and national level for our students to perform well on tests,” Warne said. “We are living during a time when everything is data-driven. However, we as teachers, must not forget that these are children in our classroom; they want to explore, play, be creative, and have the opportunity to be kids.”
Warne strives to make a difference in the lives of her students. She often goes above and beyond outside of the classroom to make sure her students know they are special and important, well beyond the year she spends as their teacher. The home-school connection is also a priority for Charlene, and structured, organized parent-teacher conferences help support this bond between school and family.
Warne said she recognizes that a major public issue today is whether to continue to assign homework or for school districts to adopt a “no homework” policy. She respects that students are involved in after-school activities, have family time, and need time to play.
Warne believes in homework for her students. She assigns homework each Monday, keeps assignments focused, limits length, and asks that homework is returned each Friday.
She believes homework is a good review of lessons learned and also teaches students about time management, a lifelong skill. This belief comes from the success she has witnessed over her many years of teaching.
Warne shared a quote that reflects her viewpoint on homework in her 2017 Minnesota Teacher of the Year application: “A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” stated Duke University Psychology Professor Harris Cooper. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”
Warne has been involved in a multitude of professional committees during her tenure at Delano. She is a new teacher mentor, lead peer coach for Q-Comp, involved in curriculum mapping, a cluster classroom teacher, has served on the professional development committee and elementary site base committee, and was awarded a Leadership in Educational Excellence Award in 2015.
Warne’s passion to support community is evident in her involvement in Delano’s Relay For Life, along with her previous guidance on the Christian Education Committee at Light of Christ Lutheran Church for seventh- through 12th-grade students.
Warne received her bachelor of elementary education degree with a minor in psychology from Augsburg College. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. She began her teaching career at the Andersen Open School in Minneapolis in 1995.
In 2005, Warne joined the staff at Delano Elementary School as a third-grade teacher. She has also contributed professionally as an Adventure Club teacher, after-school program teacher, and summer school teacher in Delano.
Warne lives in Delano with her husband, Mike. She has two grown daughters, Allison, who is pursuing her nursing degree at Augustana University in South Dakota; and Kailyn, who is currently studying business at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.