Arizona Education Association

Spring 2018

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SPRING 2018 | ADVOCATE 25 About Milken Educator Jonathan Cadena Chemistry teacher Jonathan Cadena keeps his students at Desert View High School in Tucson fully engaged. When they know the answer to one of his carefully constructed questions, they compete to get his attention, hands held high. The active learning environment Cadena creates includes small group activities focused on completion and understanding. Cadena listens to his learners to assess their mastery, making sure they are thinking critically about the components and resulting compounds in their experiments and more than 95% of his students pass his class. Cadena earns high praise from administrators, who often bring visitors, district personnel and board members to his classroom to observe his highly effective teaching style. During one visit, Cadena, then teaching physics, was seated on a stool in front of a fan wearing a long blonde wig for a lesson on speed and velocity. Cadena has mentored other chemistry teachers with regard to instructional practices, classroom management, lesson planning and tailoring instruction through data- driven decisions. He plays a leading role in Desert View's science department, writing grants, conducting professional development workshops and managing inventory and chemical storage processes. Cadena stays abreast of emerging research and constantly incorporates new and innovative methods into his classroom. Cadena is an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher; he has incorporated AVID strategies into his own classroom and helped other Desert View teachers do the same. Cadena serves as a stellar role model for the school's predominantly Latino population, keeping college top of mind for academic students and reminding them to embrace lifelong learning. He sponsored an after-school science club for years; his students talk about pursuing careers in chemical engineering, the cosmetics industry and education. A skilled communicator in English and Spanish, Cadena builds strong relationships with both students and parents. For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit The Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the "Oscars of Teaching" has been opening minds and shaping futures for 30 years. Research shows teacher quality is the driving in-school factor behind student growth and achievement. The initiative not only aims to reward great teachers, but to celebrate, elevate and activate those innovators in the classroom who are guiding America's next generation of leaders. Milken Educators believe, "The future belongs to the educated." Critical thinking and hands-on experience are keys to Cadena's classroom success with his highly engaged learners. Teaching science with a dramatic flair as well as a down-to-earth pragmatism, Cadena is compounding student achievement with more than 95% of his students passing chemistry and many moving on to careers in chemical engineering, education or the cosmetics industry. Bilingual in English and Spanish, Cadena is clearly a role model for students in this predominantly Latino school while teaching the universal language of science. "We are proud that the Milken Foundation has chosen to honor Jonathan Cadena," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas. "As a

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