A New Approach to Teaching Changed Her Classroom

Empowered Teacher Erin DiVello has transformed her classroom and her career perspective. She's also helping to change K-12 education nationally.

by Nat Ward, Jaci Herbst, and Sean Amore

Empowered’s Resources Re-Ignited a Teacher’s Passion

She found her calling in teaching business and marketing. It ignited her passion for empowering young minds with practical skills for success as adults. The last several years had taken a toll. She found her students increasingly distracted, consumed by social media, and instant gratification. That has affected both student learning and Erin DiVello’s teaching. She was ready to leave the classroom. Then a new approach to teaching changed her classroom and her career.

How Could She Kindle Fresh Enthusiasm?  

That’s when Erin discovered Empowered and our community of educators, working together to transform education while engaging and inspiring each individual student with learning that is more relevant to life ahead. In Empowered, Erin found activities, classroom resources, and tools that help personalize learning to be more hands-on and engaging.

Inspired by Empowered’s approach, Erin re-designed how she ran her classroom while shifting the dynamic to capture students’ imaginations and foster their growth mindset – the belief that challenges are opportunities and failure is a chance to improve. As she puts it, her lessons went from “slides and worksheets” to “exploring and growing”.

This change transformed both her students’ learning and interest and Erin’s teaching and fulfillment. Her students were eager to explore, experiment, and innovate. Erin’s restored her passion. She felt the desire to push further and tap into her own potential.

The result? Liberty High School (Fauquier County Public Schools (Bealeton, Virginia)) named Erin their “Innovative Teacher of the Year”.

That would have been a success but that’s not where the story ends. Today, Erin is a vocal advocate for Empowered’s approach. She’s championing a “different” way to teach. She’s inspiring her colleagues both in her school and around the country with her results and her commitment to reimagining how kids learn.

A Misguided Education Approach Leaves Students Checked Out.

Erin’s story is not unfamiliar to Empowered nor is it a microcosm in K-12 education today. The legacy way of teaching kids, with one-size-fits-all approaches and sit-and-get dynamics, isn’t setting students up for success nor is it honoring the talents and passions of educators who chose to teach for the opportunity to help every learner realize their full potential.

In reality only a third of eight graders are proficient in reading, math, or science. Students and families point to how material is taught. It feels flat. Many students don’t connect to the material or see how it applies to them. They check out. In fact, by the time they reach senior year, barely a third of students say they are engaged in their learning at all.

Disengaged students don’t discover or develop their talents and gifts. They don’t see how they can contribute to their schools and communities. Unplugged students don’t, typically, see how they can create or seize opportunities in life. Bored learners aren’t setting themselves up for success.

Empowered Teachers Are Bucking the Trend.

As of June 1st, 30,000+ Empowered Educators are buoyed by our community and the trust, respect, and tools we provide. Our teachers prove that Empowered’s educational strategy can used with any curriculum, methodology, and instructional-strategy. Our resources are applicable in any classroom or school setting and help to simplify the process of offering personalized learning.

The results* speak for themselves:

  • 75% of Empowered students said they felt they drove their learning experience.
  • 80% reported Empowered Teachers helped them recognize their unique talents.
  • 86% reported confidence in themselves and their ability to succeed.

Teachers, like Erin, who feel the power of experience-based learning and its positive impacts on learners become advocates for themselves and their students. As more classrooms, like Erin’s, transform to offer real and relevant educational experiences the effort to transform education on the whole grows.

* Statistics are based on Empowered Student end-of-school-year survey data (2022-23 School Year).


If reading Erin’s story has inspired you, consider the following:

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