An Oakland County educator known for her dedication to helping special education students become independent through a variety of activities, including an overnight camping trip, has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Jennifer Grubb, is a special education teacher at Milford High School, which is part of the Huron Valley School District.
The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.
Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, FOX 47 in Lansing, and WNEM-TV in Saginaw. The segment featuring Grubb will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Grubb said she chose a career in education “because I love working with kids of all abilities.”
She said her favorite part of being an educator is “connecting with the students and seeing the growth they make in their time with me.”
Grubb said seeing her students do well motivates her to do her best each day. “It’s wonderful to see the kids in my class excel. It’s amazing seeing my young adults become independent, active members of their community. They have jobs, friends, and hobbies. They are fulfilling their dreams.”
A student’s parent nominated Grubb for the Excellence in Education award, describing her as “a one in a million educator.”
Specifically, the nomination outlined how Grubb’s students ran a coffee shop to raise money for a two-night camping experience at Camp Dearborn. Working at the coffee shop helped build the independence skills for the students and they expanded those skills at Camp Dearborn with activities such as cooking, day and night hikes, swimming, canoeing, scavenger hunts and fishing.”
“The students had many choices built in their day with some needing a few prompts to get them to engage. The students managed their leisure time, many of them started games with other students or decided to stick around by the fire and talk,” the nomination said.
“This three-day, two-night event took an enormous amount of planning and time for Mrs. Grubb. She enlisted a true community of support for the students, including the Milford High School staff, other students at the school, Heavner Canoe Rental, Oakland County Sheriff’s officers and Camp Dearborn.
“For many of the students, this was their first time away from home and/or away from their families. As the parent of a child with special needs, I cannot begin to describe how important this experience was for my son in building his independent living skills for later in life. There are not many opportunities available to kids with special needs in our community to be able to experience being on their own in a safe environment.”
Grubb earned a bachelor of arts degree in special education with a focus on cognitive impairment and a master of science degree from Walden University in reading and literacy. She has been an educator for 18 years, all with the Huron Valley School District.
Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
- Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
- Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
- Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts.
- Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.