Blaine Poulsen, a sixth-grade teacher at Douglas T. Orchard Elementary School, Granite District, has been honored by the national PTA as an instructor who turns his classroom into as laboratory for hands-on learning.

Poulsen was one of four honorable mention winners in the national PTA's Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Educator Award program. He was selected from among 389 educators nationwide and will receive a $500 award.Poulsen was medically disabled as a police officer and turned to teaching so he could continue to make a meaningful contribution to society. He implemented a "model community" in his class, with elected officers and a court system manned by students.

The students earn "Eagle Bucks" for good performance and have to use some of it to pay "rent" for their desks. The exercises teach young people responsibility, said Poulsen.