|Photo by JOI (flickr)|
Esther Wojcicki has been a Journalism/English teacher at Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, CA for the past 27 years where she built the journalism program from a small group of 20 students in 1985 to the largest high school journalism program
in the nation winning major national and international recognition. Her program is an example of the effectiveness of Project Based Learning and using journalism as tool to get students engaged in critical thinking skills, writing skills, and Web 2.0 skills. She is working to help other schools adopt similiar programs. The program includes 500 students, four journalism teachers, and five award-winning journalism electives including a newspaper (The Campanile) , a news magazine, Verde, an online site (http://voice.paly.net
), daily television (InFocus), and a sports magazine, Viking. The publications have won Gold and Silver Crowns from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the PaceMaker Award and Hall of Fame Award from National Scholastic Press, and best in nation from Time Magazine in 2003. The website was honored with two Webby Awards in 2005. She is Chair of the Board of Creative Commons and a strong advocate of Open Education Resources and Creative Commons licensing. She is a 2009 MacArthur Foundation Research Award receipient on the Student Journalism 2.0 project
. She has won multiple awards including California Commission on Teacher Credentialing 2002 California Teacher of the Year, and 2009 Columbia University Scholastic Press Association Gold Key Award. She is a consultant for Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Hewlett Foundation and a blogger for HuffingtonPost. In 2010 she was awarded a Knight Foundation Grant to create a 21st Century Literacy curriculum that targets ninth grade classrooms nationwide. In March, 2011 she was awarded the Columbia University Scholastic Press Association Charles R. O’Malley Award for Excellence in Teaching. The O’Malley Award recognizes “teaching” in the broadest sense of that word, beginning with distinction in the classroom and also recognizing teaching beyond it.