From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Alejandra Matos, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

St. Paul teacher wins national award

Posted by: Anthony Lonetree Updated: March 5, 2014 - 6:40 PM

A St. Paul teacher who has preached the value of using forests as a classroom was chosen Wednesday for a national honor by the environmental education program, Project Learning Tree.

Karen Christenson, a science teacher at St. Anthony Park Elementary, was one of five teachers to be named a 2014 Outstanding Educator. She is the first Minnesotan to win the award since 2008.

According to Project Learning Tree, Christenson uses schoolyard safaris and other activities to "introduce students to hands-on experiences and outdoor exploration."

In 2013, 87 percent of St. Anthony Park students tested as proficient in science.

Christenson taught previously at Bruce Vento Elementary on the East Side.

In addition to her St. Paul duties, Christenson has sought to inspire in teachers statewide a passion for outdoors-based learning as part of the Minnesota School Forest Program.

She is to be honored in May at a Project Learning Tree conference in Traverse City, Mich. 

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