High School Teacher
John Muir High School
Pasadena Unified School District
As lead teacher for John Muir High's Smaller Learning Community (SLC) in Arts, Entertainment and Media (AEM), Manuel Rustin creates such a stimulating environment that when he offered a state test prep boot camp after school for a group of 30 students, 60 lined the halls ready to go. Rustin made room for them all.
Rustin's teaching effectiveness is characterized by an innovative approach to instruction which has motivated higher thinking skills, increased peer learning relationships and strengthened ties between the curriculum and real world. Standout projects have been to create songs and performances about the Constitution and establish Facebook profiles for historical figures.
Rustin also drives his students to think independently and prepare them for college. In his classes, they become versed in performing self-assessments and charting goals. Rustin conducts his own assessments of students at the beginning, middle and end of the year. In a school that had traditionally been underperforming, Rustin's students are seeing noticeable gains in achievement.
In addition to his daily duties, Rustin is responsible for coordinating student recruitment and internships for his SLC as well as providing professional development for fellow staff. He is a member of the school's leadership team and its AVID site team, as well as a lead trainer for Thinking Maps--a common visual language and graphic organizing system for note-taking--now in every classroom. Rustin was instrumental in the overall redesign of the school into SLCs, and his AEM SLC became certified in June 2011.