K-M Elementary School teacher Natalie Tweten wins award
Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School teacher Natalie Tweten is one of 59 teachers selected across the U.S. to have earned the 2022-23 Outstanding Project Lead the Way teacher award.
The award recognizes educators who demonstrate a strong record of delivering an inspiring and empowering student experience, while expanding access to Project Lead the Way programs, and transforming teaching. PLTW is honoring Tweten for her work in its Launch program.
Tweten is in her eighth year as a PLTW kindergarten teacher at Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School and teaches PLTW Launch to all students in kindergarten. Tweten was nominated as an Outstanding STEM Educator of the Year in southeastern Minnesota in 2017.
Throughout the years, she has opened her classroom to other teachers from the southeastern Minnesota area who have been interested in learning more about PLTW.
Tweten attended Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, and is a licensed teacher in age three-preK, birth-grade three, and kindergarten-grade six.
“Students come to kindergarten naturally curious and filled with wonder,” said K-M Elementary Principal Ariana Wright.
“Mrs. Tweten harnesses student excitement in her PLTW classroom. She understands the development needs of kindergarten learners and incorporates those needs into her classroom. High expectations in acquisition and application of PLTW concepts ensures that every student leaves Mrs. Tweten’s class with transferable skills in design and engineering. Mrs. Tweten is simply exceptional.”
When you walk into Tweten’s classroom, students are engaged and excited to be experiencing PLTW modules that incorporate the Engineering Design Process, according to a press release distributed by K-M Schools. She creates a safe learning environment for all students to be successful learners, and highly encourages students to collaborate with each other.
What brings Tweten the most joy in teaching PLTW? She loves to hear and see the excitement from her students when they are entering her classroom. Her students are curious and ask daily, “Mrs. Tweten, what are we going to do today?”
Tweten has seen the powerful impact of PLTW Launch for the past eight years in her classroom. She is always excited to start the school year and to see kids grow in the areas of creativity, problem solving, collaboration and critical thinking skills, the press release said.
“PLTW educators do incredible work facilitating learning experiences that inspire and prepare students to reach their full potential,” said David Dimmett, PLTW Interim President and CEO. “This award acknowledges and recognizes their accomplishments in continuing that mission. We congratulate them and are proud of the work these educational leaders do to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success beyond the classroom.”
Each year, PLTW honors outstanding teachers and administrators across the network who play an immeasurable role to prepare students to thrive in college, careers and beyond, the press release said.
Photo: Natalie Tweten