Around Town | September 8, 2017 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 8, 2017

Around Town

NATIONAL RECOGNITION ... Palo Alto High School journalism teacher Esther Wojcicki, commonly known to her students as "Woj," has been recognized by the nonprofit Honored, an organization that puts the spotlight once a month on a K-12 educator for his/her impact in the classroom. In addition to the title, the honoree is given a $5,000 cash reward and an article by a "world-class writer" on their work. Actor James Franco, Wojcicki's former student, called her his hero in a video and praised Wojcicki for giving control to students running The Campanile, the campus newspaper. "Not only did we write the stories, we got to come up with the stories and we did the layout of the paper." The work young journalists did in Wojcicki's classroom gave them "a sense of ownership," Franco said. "It wasn't work that would just end up in a ... teacher's drawer after getting a grade. It was work that would go out in the world. Franco used Wojcicki's teaching style while teaching a film class at Paly and continues to apply her methods while leading film lectures for graduate students. Wojcicki's teaching philosophy can be summed in an acronym: TRICK, which stands for trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness, according to an article by Vanity Fair contributing editor Bethany McLean. The 33-year teacher also is known for doing a "Woj check" before the paper leaves the room. "She's a kid magnet," Paly principal Kim Diorio said in the article. "People feel really connected to her and supported by her."

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