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Teacher receives statewide honor

Matthew Rubin of Castaic Middle named 2009 State Middle-Grades Educator of the Year

Posted: March 26, 2009 12:02 a.m.
Updated: March 26, 2009 8:00 a.m.

Castaic Middle School teacher Matthew Rubin teaches a science class in February.

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Matthew Rubin, an eighth-grade science teacher at Castaic Middle School, has been named 2009 State Middle-Grades Educator of the Year by the California League of Middle Schools.

Two of his students say they know why.

"Mr. Rubin makes class fun," said eighth-grader Ashley Carandang. "He explains things so they are easy to understand and makes them interesting as well."

Classmate Carlos Recinos agrees.

"My favorite class project was when we each pretended to be an element and had to write an autobiography on ourselves," Recinos said. "I was ‘Bromine' and I will never forget what I learned."

Rubin accepted the award March 14 before a room full of fellow educators, all of whom Rubin said were accomplished and highly respected in their teachings.

"It was wonderful, but also very humbling," Rubin said. "Each of these teachers was clearly outstanding and it was an honor just to be in their company."

Rubin said he likes to use learning materials to make games and projects to inspire students' creativity.

"It's important to honor the artistic intelligence of kids who struggle with math or science," Rubin said. "Making the material accessible to them helps boost their confidence and their imaginations."

A popular favorite among Rubin's eighth-grade science class is the project called Crime Busters.

Students in a weeklong lab assignment take on the roles of CSI agents to analyze mystery chemical mixtures to determine which of three pest control companies poisoned a local creek.

"It was my favorite because it was fun and we got to show the skills we've learned so far," said Raul Domrique.

Domrique said he wants to go into forensics when he gets older.

Rubin has taught for eight years and been part of the Castaic Middle School staff for six years.

"I am constantly inspired by the other teachers I work with here," Rubin said. "I am so motivated when I see how much they care about the students we share." Students also know that class time doesn't mean the teacher is off duty.

"Mr. Rubin really focuses on us when we need him," Recinos said.

"During recess, at lunch time or after school, he cares and that makes him special."

When asked what is next for his future science students, Rubin said, "I believe in constantly trying new things. I think that keeps us fresh in any job we do."

A regional panel of educators first selected Rubin as the middle-grades Educator of the Year for Region 8, an area that includes the counties of Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

At the California League of Middle Schools conference, Rubin was then chosen from among 11 regional educators of the year to represent the entire state as Middle-Grades Educator of the Year.

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