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Local teacher wins prestigious MicroSociety Award

Melisa McIntosh

A local teacher has received a prestigious lifetime achievement award for her work at Aspen Heights Elementary’s MicroSociety.

Melisa McIntosh, a Grade 5 Teacher at Aspen Heights, is the recipient of the Tom Malone Lifetime Achievement Award from MicroSociety Inc.

“I was shocked, of course, to learn that I received this award,” said Melisa. “When I heard the news, I was speechless.”

There are more than 120 MicroSociety sites across the world. Melisa has been a part of MicroSociety since it began at Aspen Heights Elementary School about 15 years ago, being one of the foundational teachers implementing the program in its early stages. 

“When we started MicroSociety all of those years ago, we were trying to get motivation and ownership out of our students in their learning,” said Melisa.

The MicroSociety runs all year long at the school. Imagine a place where children experience math by having jobs, paying taxes and running businesses that sell everything from smoothies to clothing to plants. A place where students study logic and law by taking their peers to court and fining them in the school’s currency (Stingers). A place where kids come to understand politics by drawing up their own constitution, and drafting their own bills and laws. A place where these laws are enforced by their own police (RAMP- Royal Aspen Micro Police).  Imagine a school where citizenship is not just a character pillar that is talked about, but a continuous experience in playing with the building blocks of modern society.

MicroSociety is cross-graded, cross-curricular and aligns with Aspen Heights’ priorities by meeting the needs of all students from K-5.

Under Melisa’s guidance, the MicroSociety program has flourished, transforming into a vibrant miniature society where students take on roles as entrepreneurs, government officials, and community leaders. Her innovative approach has not only equipped them with essential life skills but has also instilled a lifelong love for learning and a deep understanding of their potential to effect positive change in the world.

“In our culture as a school it’s about kids really seeking ownership and having control over their learning. The mantra at MicroSociety is ‘voice and choice’. From choosing their own government, to choosing to lead their own businesses, and handing out tickets to their peers - kids really own what is happening and they take it very seriously. The skills and confidence they are learning prepare them for the real world when they leave school,” said Melisa. “Our parents love it and there is a pride in who we are as a MicroSociety.”

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