Stapp Inspires-The Heart of a Coach

“I can meet you at 10:00 am, that’s when practice is over. Do you know how to get to the field?” After receiving directions to Everly Montgomery Stadium I was all set to meet up with this month’s Stapp Inspires Teacher Highlight, Doug Johnson.

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I touched base with Brion (our dealer principal and Longmont High School graduate.) before our meeting. Both Doug and Brion started at Longmont High about the same time. Doug as a coach and Brion as the quarterback. As we chatted about days gone by, Brion said how proud he was that Doug has continued the strong tradition of LHS football.

I arrived at the field just as practice was winding up. The relief of practice being over and plans for later in the day were being made as I passed the athletes leaving the field.  Doug is spending a little extra time with a few players and soon he is ready to meet and get out of the sun.We settle into his office and I can’t help but notice the pictures of all his teams, I saw a few from more than 10 years ago. We chat for a few minutes to get a little background information. He started coaching at Lyons High School with his dad in 1990 and 1991 and at Skyline High School in 1992 before winding up at Longmont High School 1993. He is a math teacher when he isn’t coaching. It’s worth noting that he also coaches basketball and track. Oh, and in his spare time a sponsor to FCA.

Doug’s concern and love of his players and students is his heart. For him the greatest thing to see his kids over come challenges and succeed. To have students and athletes reach out and update him on what’s going on their lives is the best part of working with high students. Because he cares so much for his kids the hardest thing for him to do is to correct them. “It’s a lot easier to let it be.”, he said.He stressed to this team that they are a family and that love of your teammates is more important than hate of opponents.

He wants to see his players be contributors to their communities and that this can happen in many different ways. he last Saturday of football camp Doug sets up an opportunity for his players to help others out in the community. This year the team was headed up to Lyons to help out 6 homeowners who were effected by the flood with their landscaping. He tries to either provide materials needed or have them donated for their projects. If this isn’t possible, they take care of the difference.Doug started this tradition in 2007. He admitted it started as a mentality of “coach is making us do this” but over the years it has transformed into “we are going to do better than last year.”  He wants to teach these young men how to show love to others without saying it and how they have the ability and power to give hope to those around them. Of course the football team has goals they want to meet each season. But at the end of the day, we all have a bottom line that defines us and if the team does nothing else but this outreach… That is a successful season for Doug and the team.

As much care he has for his players there are a few things that hold more importance to him. He has 5 kids whom he loves dearly and a wife he adores. He still dates his wife every week. ” It’s so easy to become roommates, especially with kids.” he comments. Doug has coached a few of his kids in different sports and had a blast spending time with them in that way. ” I’m more concerned with the person my daughter becomes than how she performs as an athlete.” he said while talking about coaching his daughter in pole vaulting.  He places a huge importance on family time, not just in his family, but his athletes too. He prefers to not have team dinners and let his players have dinner with their families because that kids are away from too much as it is.  

Doug, when we first spoke on the phone you mentioned that you were unsure of why you were chosen for this highlight, you didn’t think you were doing anything special or extraordinary and that there were plenty of others who were more deserving. I hope I have been able to show why you were chosen. Your heart for not only your athletes, students and your family is seen by all.  You see that there is more to life than football and you help your players see beyond the field. You give hope and encouragement to everyone you meet. I want to thank you for your time, just meeting with you was inspiring to me. We wish you and the team good luck this season.

Go Trojans!

Stapp Inspires- Teacher Highlight Chris Chou

Welcome to Stapp Inspires Teacher Highlight! Each month we will be highlighting a teacher, support staff or coach and the school they work at with in St. Vrain Valley Schools. These special people encourage and inspire their students and co-workers. We are proud to share their stories with you.

This month we visit Longmont High School. A few quick facts about LHS. LHS has been recognized 3 years in a row by US News and World Report as a “Best High School”. Enrollment has increased by 10% from the previous year. LHS is able to offer 20 AP classes and 11 classes for college credit.

We are stepping into Chris Chou’s AP Biology classroom this month. Ms. Chou has been teaching for 14 years, 12 of those have been at LHS. Ms. Chou has been instrumental in setting up and overseeing the school’s Medical and Biosciences Academy (MBSA).

 

The MBSA is designed for students who are interested in careers or secondary education in the health sciences. One of the classes students are required to take is AP Biology. Under Ms. Chou’s tutelage, all LHS students taking the Advanced Placement (AP) Biology exam scored a 3 or better, leaving the school with an average of 4.1. The national average for the AP Biology Exam is 2.83. It’s easy to see why Ms. Chou received  the 2016 Outstanding Biology Teacher Award.

We had a few questions for Ms. Chou about her passion for her students and preparing them for the next steps in their lives.

We asked her what her favorite thing about teaching at LHS was. This is what she had to say…

“I love teaching a diverse population of students who are involved in so many different activities both inside and outside of school. They have so many interesting backgrounds and interests. I also enjoy working with a passionate group of educators. The teachers at Longmont High really care about their students, work hard to improve their craft, and learners themselves. Many of them provide unique learning opportunities for students and model what it looks like to be learners themselves.”

We also wanted to find out what the most important thing she felt she could pass on to her students. She teaches primarily juniors and seniors, students who are about to embark on the next stage of life. This is what she feels is the most important lesson she can impart…

“I believe the most important lesson I can teach my students is how to think critically and make informed decisions. I teach mostly juniors and seniors who are soon to be graduation and going into the adult world. They will need to know how to sift through the abundance of information available to them through media and the internet, and it is  important that they know how to make informed decisions regarding their educational choices, finances, health, future careers, involvement in politics and public issues. But I think the lesson I hope students gain from being in one of my classes is how to treat others with kindness and respect and how to work well with other. I also want students to be curious, enjoy learning and be lifelong learners.”

Ms. Chou’s commitment and passion to her students in the MBSA program are well prepared to continue their secondary education in any field they choose. In fact 83.3% of MBSA graduates have gone to major in science or pre-health programs. 8.3% are studying pre-engineering and another 8.3% currently major in non-scientific course work.

Thank you Ms. Chou for making LHS a great space for students to learn and succeed. It’s teachers like you who are having a wonderful impact on our future.