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Rachel Freeman School principal wins Razor Walker Award

READ MORE: Rachel Freeman School principal wins Razor Walker Award
WILMINGTON -- Since 1993 the Watson School of Education at UNCW has honored individuals who have made a difference in the lives of young people in our state. All this week we will introduce you to this year's Razor Walker Award recipients. We begin with Elizabeth Miars, Principal of Rachel Freeman School of Engineering. Miars loves to watch children learn. She said, "When they finally get it, when they finally understand. That's probably the most rewarding and it's a gift." The Rachel Freeman School of Engineering is a magnet elementary school that serves many underprivileged children. When Freeman became a magnet school one year ago, Miars was determined to see it thrive. "If we do a good job in helping children to develop into successful adults we've done our whole society a service," Miars said. She initiated the innovative 'engineering is elementary' curriculum -- making Freeman one of few elementary schools in the country with an engineering focus. "We're looking at problem solving and helping children work in teams, and learn how to analyze a problem and develop solutions. That's a 21 century scale," Miars said. She says teamwork and problem solving are important skills and should be taught to children as early as possible. Miars said, "I think you plant seeds within children by helping them understand that they can be the best they can be if they use their skills and their talents." And when working with mostly at risk children, that's not always easy. "Children have one culture at home and many times that culture is not the same at school," Miars said. But Miars has already attempted to solve this problem. She instituted family math night this past October, where hundreds of parents and their children spent the evening at school working out math problems. She says she hopes to pass such innovation on to her students. "And that's what we're teaching children: that problem-solving is a way of life and that it helps them to be more successful adults," Miars said.

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