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 Jamul Teacher Wins National History Award

Greg Spielman and Jim Dowling at Oak Grove Middle School

A teacher at Oak Grove Middle School in Jamul recently received national recognition from the group that organizes the National History Day for his work with the local version of the annual event.

Greg Spielman, who teaches eighth-grade history, received the nationwide Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award last month at a ceremony in Maryland.

He was selected for the award from the nominees from each state as well as representative from the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools, International schools, and U.S. territories.

Along with the honor and recognition, he also will get a $10,000 prize to add to the $500 he won as a state finalist.

“He is a very enthusiastic teacher who exemplifies the best our younger generation of teachers has to offer,” said Janet Mulder, a trustee in the Jamul-Dulzura Union School District who nominated Spielman for the award. “The students of Jamul are so lucky to have such a strong dedicated educator teaching them to be critical thinkers and actually ‘do’ history under his tutelage.”

Organizers picked winners in both the junior and senior levels based on their development and use of creative teaching methods that help get students excited about history.

Spielman described his history class as “a myriad of activities of project-based learning which allows for student choice and affords the opportunity for authentic assessment.”

“Students are required to engage in active learning, construct their own understandings, apply what they have learned, and to share and communicate their findings and learning to an audience,” he said. “They do the work of historians, geographers, and economists on a daily basis.”

Spielman also runs a History Day Club at his school that meets weekly after school.

PhotoJim Dowling, Jamul-Dulzura Union School District trustee, congratulates Greg Spielman recently at the 8th-grade graduation ceremony at Oak Grove Middle School.