8th Grade Teacher of the Year
8th Grade Center
Jason Schrepel – Pre-Algebra
- Graduate of Charles Page High School in Sand Springs
- Studied chemistry at Tulsa Community College (1998 – 2000)
- Studied chemical engineering at Oklahoma State University (2000 – 2001; changed majors)
- Completed associate’s degree in chemistry from Tulsa Community College (2010)
- Earned bachelor’s degree in elementary education from OSU (2011)
- Elementary Education Certification – Grades 1-8 (2011)
- Advanced Mathematics Certification – Grades 5-12 (2011)
- Mid-Level Math for High School Credit Certification – Grades 5-8 (2011)
- Intermediate Mathematics Certification – Grades 5-12 (2011)
The 8th Grade Teacher of the Year, Jason Schrepel, decided to become a teacher in 2008.
“After studying chemical engineering at Oklahoma State University, I grew bored with the rote memorization and theory of chemistry,” Schrepel said. “I decided to do something that I had always loved and that was to help younger students make sense of their mathematics. So often, students lose their love of mathematics because of an emphasis on algorithms and memorized steps. I really enjoy helping students to make sense of the math they already ‘know’ and aid them exploring all of the different ways you can do math.”
Getting math across to students requires discussion, he said.
“I love to incorporate class discourse into my classroom,” Schrepel said. “Students come from different backgrounds, have varying prior knowledge and see the world from different perspectives. This creates great conversations about the various different ways you can approach a math task. It also exposes students to a variety of problem-solving strategies and they get to see solutions and reasoning from other perspectives. This open discussion is much more engaging than a teacher simply explaining one way to solve a problem. It allows students to understand that their thoughts matter and that they truly do understand their mathematics.”
Schrepel sees a “huge opportunity for growth” and an opportunity for his school district and the state of Oklahoma to be forerunners in education.
“Union is a very unique district and thus has some unique struggles, but these struggles also provide an opportunity for unique performance,” he said. “Union is a district that others look to for leadership and innovation. I think that we can really set ourselves apart as we continue to focus on the needs of our students, as well as, continue to hire great teachers who utilize quality teaching practices.”
Likewise, Schrepel continued, “With the implementation of new leadership in the State Department of Education, there are fantastic changes being put in place. New standards that require students to develop a deeper, more robust understanding of their content will bring a new freshness to education in this state. As this leadership continues to lift up and encourage educators in Oklahoma by bringing forth change based on the input and collaboration with teachers, Oklahoma’s public school systems will begin to turn around and growth will resume.”
He has been teaching since 2011.
“After graduating in 2011, Union hired me to teach pre-algebra at the 8th Grade Center,” Schrepel said. “As a graduate of Sand Springs Schools, I always thought I wanted to teach in that district. However, once I spent time at Union I fell in love with the support and encouragement of the faculty, staff and administration here. From day one, I have been allowed to teach my own curriculum (though it is obviously based on state standards) and teach in a style that is comfortable for me and that my students love and thrive in. Based on this support, I now have no intentions of leaving Union. I have a family of fellow teachers, administrators, parents and past students that I cannot leave. I was raised a Sandite, but now I consider myself a Redskin.”
Schrepel is currently in the Union Leadership Cadre, exploring other positions that would keep him involved with the math department here at Union but not necessarily in the classroom.
“My love is mathematics and helping people make sense of something that should be very concrete,” he said. “One of the opportunities I’m exploring is becoming an instructional coach with the district. Perhaps my services are better utilized by helping teachers refine their teaching strategies and practices, hopefully resulting in growth for more students than just the ones who physically attend my class each year.”