The teachers that made the greatest impact on Mr. Chris Dobis are the ones that went the extra mile to build a relationship with him – and know him for more than a student. Now, as an educator himself, he strives to have a casual, student-driven classroom where students lead the way and have choices in their learning.

DobisMr. Dobis has had a significant impact on student achievement at Pioneer Elementary in Pierz, where he has taught third grade for the last three years. Pioneer has become a 1:1 device school. Principal Tom Otte attributes this largely to Mr. Dobis’ willingness to lead the technology initiative in a manner that increases student engagement and achievement.

The third grade students outpaced the state average by at least 13 percent when combining math and reading scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA).

“This impressive academic achievement is just one of the reasons Mr. Dobis has been awarded the 2016 MREA Educator of Excellence Award,” MREA Executive Director Fred Nolan said.

According to his colleagues, Mr. Dobis has taken the genuine passion he has for his students into the world of technology. He cultivates a classroom experience where his students track their own growth and access their learning through a multitude of digital resources.

“Many of the teaching strategies Mr. Dobis employs allow students to become self-directed learners who can be successful by excelling at their own level of learning,” Otte said.

Mr. Dobis openly shares his innovative strategies, successful and unsuccessful, with colleagues. This collaborative effort among educators has delivered invaluable results. In May 2015, only five children in Pioneer Elementary’s third grade did not score above 50 on the MCA Math exam. And nearly 50 percent of the entire trade scored in the “exceeds” category.

“These are phenomenal results in any setting, but extraordinary in a rural demographic of about 40 percent Free and Reduced families,” said George Weber, Superintendent of Pierz Public Schools.

This fall Mr. Dobis will take on a new position – a position created especially for his unique skill set. Only half of Mr. Dobis’ time will be teaching in the classroom. He will spend the remainder of his day observing and supporting other educators throughout the district.

“The true purpose will be for him to share, model and practice teaching alongside all of our teachers in a manner that uses technology integration to improve student outcomes by individualizing the student learning experiences in our classrooms,” Otte said.

Mr. Dobis says his biggest motivator is always the students. When he faces a decision, he asks himself, “How will this impact our students?”

Otte says,” Mr. Dobis has played a significant role in moving Pioneer Elementary from good to great!”

MREA presents the Educators of Excellence Awards to recognize, reward, and promote excellence in education that achieves the highest outcomes for Greater Minnesota students. Learn more about the award.

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