Open Up Resources EL Education K–5 Language Arts Teacher of the Month: Cathey Sand

Cathey Sand, a 4th-grade teacher at Brubaker Elementary School of Des Moines Public Schools (IA) has been named the Open Up Resources EL Education K–5 Language Arts Teacher of the Month for December. 


Sand’s work with EL Education K–5 Language Arts makes her one of the most innovative teachers in the country. The EL Education K–5 Language Arts curriculum inspires a new way of teaching language arts by engaging students through compelling, real-world content to build equitable and inclusive learning opportunities.


Although she has experienced challenges in her first year of implementation, she has stayed motivated due to the student engagement level and integration included within the curriculum. Sand has been a huge contributor to the EL Education K–5 Language Arts Professional Learning Community  answering questions, sharing resources, and providing support for teachers across the country.


When asked about her proudest moment this school year, Sand tearfully shared about reading Jack’s story in Love That Dog during Module One. “It was so authentic and motivating for the kids to read and when we got to the poem, My Sky, there were so many tears.” She continued, “It touched my students in such a way that they were pumping out poems every chance they got. When I asked them to share their motivation for writing their poems, it was very easy for them to do—they have never been so proud to see their posted work!”


Sand encourages any teachers adopting the curriculum for the first time to take a deep breath and stay the course. Her best advice is to “completely read the lesson planning materials and stick with it. The scaffolding is built into the lessons, and if you dive in and keep going you will see results.”


Open Up Resources is a non-profit on a mission to increase equity in education by making excellent, top-rated curricula freely available to districts. You can learn more at Learn more about and join our communities here.