Love is at the heart of Layne Bell’s teaching style, but her encouragement of student voice is the driving force behind helping them reach their full potential. By creating a safe space and building trusting relationships, she helps her scholars redefine themselves as brave and brilliant learners.
“Our scholars are insightful, compassionate, brilliant, and bold,” Bell said. “Every day I am humbled by what our scholars are capable of when given the space and freedom to direct their learning authentically.”
Bell is known by coworkers as a teacher who centers her scholars in everything she does. Math teacher April Felt said Bell’s curriculum is designed around the academic and emotional needs of her students, and English teacher Bethany Ocar is inspired by the way Bell facilitates student discussions and encourages scholars to reach their full potential.
Her colleagues aren’t the only ones who have taken notice of her teaching. Bell is one of nine finalists for this year’s Minnesota Teacher of the Year award.
Q: What excites you about Vision 2031?
Vision 2031 is student-centered, first and foremost. It honors the brilliance and agency of each child, and in that regard, it affirms what I strive to do in my classroom.
Q: Any crowning achievements?
What I am most proud of is the work I do to help scholars redefine themselves as brave and brilliant learners. Through student-driven community and curriculum, I help my scholars to unpack the trauma of their past and present. Slowly, and almost always, students transform into who they were before the system convinced them they were less than. And when they realize the size of their brilliance, they begin to question the boxes that were always too narrow. In time, we grow grounded, connected, and empowered.