Alexander Case, who teaches Advanced Placement (AP) government and World History at West Potomac High School, has been named the 2008 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) First-Year Teacher of the Year.
Case’s nominators commend him for being a proactive problem solver, a collaborative worker, and a go-to person. They praise his organizational skills and his ability to communicate with colleagues, students, and parents. In his short time at West Potomac, he has been drafted by his peers to coordinate the school’s Advanced Placement (AP) program and has accepted responsibility to coordinate the school’s 65 clubs as the assistant director for student activities.
"By being ‘everywhere all the time’ as my students often jest, I witnessed the power of presence and its potency for reaching learners," he says. "My attendance at sporting events and my lunchtime cameos in the cafeteria built trust, and my classroom environment became more solid. I, too, benefited from the broader understanding of the building in which I worked."
In his classroom, Case requires his freshmen World History students to keep interactive notebooks, which he checks and makes comments in frequently. He is skilled at individualizing instruction to challenge each student on a level appropriate to him or her. His AP students work collaboratively on projects while analyzing and synthesizing information while he serves as facilitator, encouraging them to think on a higher level.
Case heads off discipline problems by engaging students and using strategies to involve them in their own learning process.
As one of a group of teachers who developed a pilot program in service learning for West Potomac seniors, Case encourages students to learn about community problems and their effects on citizens, and to observe the responses from government leaders. He has represented the AP and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs for FCPS at a school fair for private school students and organized an information night on higher level academic courses for West Potomac parents. His efforts to encourage teachers to enroll in professional development have resulted in two new social studies classes at West Potomac for the 2008-09 school year — AP Human Geography and AP European History.
Case, who worked for the federal government while attending college, graduated from the University of Mary Washington in May 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in history, political science, and secondary education, and earned departmental honors in political science.