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Rocky Hill School is proud to announce that its fourth grade teacher, Charlie Laurent, has won The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation Teacher Innovator Award Grand Prize. Mr. Laurent is one of 10 teachers nationwide who have earned the honor bestowed by The Henry Ford and Litton Entertainment In conjunction with the Emmy-winning television show The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation on CBS, as part of the “CBS Dream Team, It’s Epic!” Saturday morning block. The awards recognize educators who are using the classroom to inspire innovation, creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking among their students.

Charlie Laurent and the other winners were selected by judges, including Innovation Nation co-host Albert Lawrence, who chose teachers who demonstrated the habits and mindset of an innovator: teachers who inspired their students to challenge the rules and take risks, who demonstrated how to be collaborative and empathetic, demonstrating intellectual curiosity and taught the value of learning from failure.


For the history-focused Project Based Learning (PBL) project, “Caretakers of History,” Mr. Laurent’s fourth grade students partnered with the local historic house museum, Smith’s Castle, to raise community awareness of the museum and to make it more child-friendly. Mr. Laurent displayed outstanding documentation of the project and a good understanding of it can be found here: http://bit.ly/2zddG3w. The timeline included on the website showcased the process of the project in which the students created and presented to a group of adults and administrators. This was an immersive and authentic experience during which learners used their knowledge of colonial history to make a difference within their larger community. Mr. Laurent explains that the learners were engaged and motivated to learn history because they understood that the content was crucial to developing ideas for their museum partner. Mr. Laurent utilized rubrics, presentations, and reflection journals to serve as assessments. The work of Mr. Laurent and his students will also be featured in a soon-to-be published book, The PBL Playbook, written by educator and author, A.J. Juliani.


Mr. Laurent and his fellow nine Grand Prize winners traveled to The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan from July 29 to August 2 for an “Innovation Immersion Experience.” The experience included round-trip airfare, accommodations, behind-the-scenes tours with curators and archivists, a teaching innovation workshop, and a special recognition ceremony.

“It was truly an honor to be recognized by such an esteemed organization as The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and its Learning and Engagement Team. I made connections with creative and talented educators from throughout the country and explored the habits and actions of Innovators. My time spent at The Henry Ford this summer was inspiring and I look forward to sharing my experiences with my colleagues and learners at Rocky Hill School.” – Charlie Laurent, 4th grade teacher

Hosted by Mo Rocca, CBS’ “Sunday Morning” correspondent and produced by Litton Entertainment, The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation is an award-winning half-hour program that tells the fascinating stories behind the historic innovators of the past and the forward-looking visionaries of today, showcasing the extraordinary talents and dedication required to bring their inventions to life.

The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation Teacher Innovator Award Grand Prize winners are:

  • Alison Francis, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Timm Green, Baltimore, MD
  • Jessica Lee Heckman, Royal Oak, MI
  • Rachel Lamb, Aurora, CO
  • Kathleen Lanman, Senoia, GA
  • Charles Laurent, North Kingstown, RI
  • Katherine Owens, Bethesda, MD
  • Teresa Sappington, Hattiesburg, MS
  • Alicia Joy Tester, Annapolis, MD
  • Bruce Dale Tony, Ocala, FL

About The Henry Ford

The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan is an internationally-recognized history destination that explores the American experience of innovation, resourcefulness, and ingenuity that helped shape America. A national historic landmark with an unparalleled Archive of American Innovation, The Henry Ford is a force for sparking curiosity and inspiring tomorrow’s innovators. Nearly 1.8 million visitors annually experience its five attractions: Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, Benson Ford Research Center, and The Henry Ford Giant Screen Experience. A continually expanding array of content available online provides anytime, anywhere access. The Henry Ford is also home to Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school which educates over 500 students a year on the institution’s campus. In 2014, The Henry Ford premiered its first-ever national television series, The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, showcasing present-day change-makers and The Henry Ford’s artifacts and unique visitor experiences. Hosted by news correspondent and humorist, Mo Rocca, this Emmy®-winning weekly half-hour show airs Saturday mornings on CBS. For more information please visit our website thehenryford.org.

About Litton Entertainment

Litton Entertainment is the preeminent independent producer and distributor in the U.S. television industry, creating and distributing quality programming for over 20 years with a specialty in educational and informational (“E/I”) programming. Litton talent and crews can often be found on all five continents producing Emmy winning, rich and nutritious content distributed worldwide. Litton’s Weekend Adventure, produced by Litton Studios, was the first program block of its kind and airs Saturdays on ABC stations nationwide. Litton Entertainment provides CBS Network with six original programs for Saturday mornings called CBS Dream Team: It’s Epic!; The CW Network with One Magnificent Morning, a three-hour destination featuring E/I programming; and NBC stations with six original E/I series under the iconic brand The More You Know. Litton’s syndication and news division distributes a diverse slate of programs including the new E/I block Go Time! and Consumer Reports TV. For more information, visit http://www.litton.tv. Litton is majority-owned by Hearst: http://www.hearst.com/

About Rocky Hill School

Founded in 1934, Rocky Hill School is an independent day school for grades preschool through 12. Located on 84 acres overlooking Narragansett Bay, Rocky Hill School focuses on innovative teaching and an interactive educational experience that prepares students to become leaders and life-long learners.