Chris Marks holding award on beach

Chris Marks

Littleton High School/Littleton Academy

Congratulations to Chris Marks! Below is a quote from a nomination letter that sums up why Chris won this award.

"Chris Marks has been an integral part of starting our “Ride for Focus” initiative as part of Chris’ Experimental Education Class. The purpose of Riding for Focus is to promote cycling as an outlet for students to improve their cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional well-being. At the end of the curriculum, students become certified as "Road Ready" after they have gained the knowledge and learned the skills to cycle safely. As a highly effective physical education program, Riding for Focus also seeks to support students in their physical, emotional, and social journey. The program focuses on helping students develop a value in physical activity for its health benefits, social interaction, self-expression, and personal enjoyment.

This year, Chris is also co-advising our YLTA program. This is our youth leadership initiative. Students in this program have helped to collect donations for our local food pantry, and the NH Food Bank. While this program is not specifically tied to environmental education, it shows Chris’ dedication to helping students become leaders within their communities. Chris continues this initiative by being a teacher member of our Culture and Climate Committee. He helps amplify student-voice to make positive changes to the climate of our school.

Chris is currently helping to pilot a program that has just been named LEAP. LEAP stands for Littleton Experiential Adventure Program. Students who would normally be headed to suspension are being referred to this program instead, which will provide weekly outdoor excursions. The program is partnering with WYLD (Wilderness Youth Leadership Development) to get some of our toughest students outside participating in something positive. The hope of the program is to take these students who are currently on a difficult path and reroute their targeted outcome by building their leadership skills, promoting community involvement, and building their physical wellness by getting them outside and active. Chris is looking to use the environment as a tool to promote social, physical, and emotional well-being. Eventually, the plan is to partner with students in YLTA to peer-model leadership skills and build upon the experiences of both groups of students.

Chris takes best practice and doesn’t just dream about it. He makes these things happen. He models to our students what it means to live in the North Country. We have a beautiful playground waiting for us to explore. He models gratitude, acceptance, teamwork, and kindness. He teaches students the power of our environment. I watch him constantly make connections between the environment, academics, and social-emotional learning. I admire him as a colleague, and hope to see his initiatives become a model for other educators who want to make a difference in the lives of students."

-Stephanie Potter, Daisy Bronson Middle School English Teacher and Chris's coworker