Champion of Civic Engagement: Michelle Carton
School Library Journal named Tudor Elementary School's Michelle Carton its 2018 Champion of Civic Engagement.
Carton is empowering her students to become responsible, engaged citizens of the world.
"It feels incredibly surreal, but validating," Carton said. "The ingenuity and grassroots work happening with students to benefit their future is being recognized. Often teachers work tirelessly, regardless of the circumstances, and don't get that recognition. I definitely honor my librarians and teachers in being named the champion of civic engagement."
Carton is also the recipient of the Follett Challenge's top award, bringing in $60,000 in supplies for her school, as well as the Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Award. She has also been named a BP Teacher of Excellence.
"Librarians are doing a lot," Carton said. "When they say 'The library is the heart of the school,' it definitely needs to be and is. We do incredible work exposing kids to the world and giving them opportunities to connect with people: space exploration, ("Xploration Outer Space" host) Emily Calandrelli, (Canadian astronaut) Chris Hadfield and really getting them engaged in global projects that'll help them think global and act local, and also at a young age."
Carton and her students have created awareness campaigns on sustainable development, specifically for our oceans.
"Life underwater is one that they're passionate about," Carton said. "The drive to ban plastic is something they have been doing a lot for. The campaign to #StopSucking, to help remove straws, for them the necessities that take care of our world are happening local. And they also raise funds to give books to students in rural Alaska and sent to under served locations in other parts of the world."
Carton has been using the Follett Challenge grant to update and renovate Tudor Elementary's library with books and materials.
She plans to continue her work with educators and librarians across the state to help them be a voice for their students' interests.