Howard Enhances Learning at One-Teacher School

Posted on May 13th, 2014

Needles Seventh-day Adventist School | Southeastern California Conference
Principal and Teacher

Norma Howard1When a budget crisis threatened to close the doors of Needles Seventh-day Adventist School during a recession, Norma Howard led the small school’s students and their parents into earnest prayer and fervent fundraising. Though the money collected ultimately saved the school, no one has forgotten the prayer battle that was instrumental in determining the school’s fate—least of all Howard. Every Wednesday, she invites her students to stay after school until 6:30 p.m. for a homemade supper that she prepares and to participate in prayer meeting. This dedication to her students and the school is only part of what makes Howard an exceptional teacher.

Despite being the teaching principal at a one-teacher school, Howard has shown her students enough love and commitment for an entire faculty.

“Norma has the nurturing ability to reach her students and teach them much-needed social skills for everyday life,” said Rebecca Lowenthal, Howard’s teaching assistant. “She leads by example and shows the students how to be kind, loving and respectful to one another.”

Howard uses innovative teaching strategies to keep her students interested in learning. She has had students collect water samples from the Colorado River, nearby puddles and the rain in order to compare and contrast them under a microscope; allowed her students to present experiments using videos and slideshows made with the computers, iPad and two cameras she helped provide for the school; and enhanced learning with gardening, field trips, and even cleaning the local church.

Norma Howard4“I want [my students] to be knowledgeable, wise and intelligent about the necessary skills for being successful, productive citizens,” Howard said.

Howard’s efforts have led to noticeable academic growth. It is not uncommon for her students to grow two grade levels within a year, according to the Iowa Assessment, and every student knows how to write an essay appropriate for their grade level by the end of each year.

“Mrs. Howard exemplifies what it means to be a well-rounded Seventh-day Adventist educator,” said Beverley Bucknor, Southern California Conference associate superintendent of schools. “Her strong personal spiritual commitment enables her to educate the whole child: spiritual, mental, physical and social.”

Howard engages her students in other activities, such as the annual Service People Christmas Dinner the school hosts to say “thank you” to firefighters, paramedics, the California Highway Patrol and others who serve the community, but her true passion is being in the classroom.

“Teaching is the joy of my life,” Howard said. “Its rewards are measureless, and I would not trade it for anything! My kids know they are in the middle of my heart… and all I want for them is their every happiness both now and forevermore!”

Despite her love for teaching, Howard hopes to have an impact that goes far beyond what can be taught from a textbook.

“It is my desire to inspire my ‘kids’ to know and love Jesus with their whole hearts,” Howard said. “I pray daily, hourly, moment-by-moment at times that they will have a loving, trusting and strong saving relationship with God.”

Norma Howard’s award ceremony was on Saturday, May 10, 2014, at Needles Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Alumni Awards Foundation board chairman, Bob Summerour, presented the award to Norma Howard.


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One Response to “Howard Enhances Learning at One-Teacher School”

  1. Walter Hamerslough says:

    My wife and I drovet to Needles from Colorado for the award presentation. It was a wonderful and inspiring service. Norma is a special person and her students truly love her. She is going to have many friends in heaven when we all get there. Thank you AAF for recognizing this amazing person.

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