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November 2021
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Congratulations to Helmut Thielsch – 2021 R.E.B Awards for Teaching Excellence winner

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Helmut Thielsch Jr. of Bird High won $15,000 to explore the design and construction of significant transportation canals and gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and economic impact of these engineering accomplishments.

Helmut Thielsch has been described as a rare teacher with an obvious passion for developing the next generation of engineers. A career switcher, he brings real-world experience into the curriculum, finding innovative and hands-on ways for students to learn engineering concepts within the confines of a high school classroom. He has established a dynamic atmosphere where students learn by seeing, hearing, researching and — most importantly — doing. Thielsch designs complex projects that have clear criteria while encouraging student voice, choice and collaboration. Through his Senior Engineering Seminar, he gives students a glimpse into university-level engineering coursework. While his classes are described as challenging, his students are motivated to master the material.

His entire approach to teaching is unique. For instance, he does not give tests; his students prepare instead for assessments. He announces an upcoming assessment as a “celebration of knowledge” and even supplies party hats for seniors to wear that day. This helps inspire and motivate students to reach heights they didn’t think possible.

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