Charlotte is in her third year as the fourth-grade math and science teacher at Hiawatha Leadership Academy – Morris Park, and she certainly knows how to bring joy into the classroom. She and her colleagues turned Saturday Academy, which is a series of classes that struggling scholars attended to improve their math and reading skills, into an exciting challenge for scholars.

Dubbed the Lego Master Builder Academy, scholars had to build a special tool (their brains!) so they could develop the skills necessary to beat the MCA. “My colleagues and the leaders in our school do a great job of making the MCA fun for kids, which reduces test anxiety,” she said.

She and other teachers dressed up in costume and worked together to make learning fun for scholars. Between trashketball, raffle tickets and a contest to see who could build the biggest Lego tower, the scholars were begging to come to school on the weekends. “Scholars felt like the whole school was supporting them in reaching their goals,” Charlotte said.