Jennifer Lankau Chase
So you want to know a little more about Ms. Chase? Let's see...
I absolutely love geography and history, especially European History. I have spent my academic career at Saint Louis University (a Jesuit school in yes, St. Louis, Missouri) and the University of Houston. I am highly interested and involved in social studies curriculum. I've been a reviewer for World History textbooks, an assessment writer for Houston ISD, and a member of the Texas Teachers Teaching American History grant from the U.S. Department of Education for several years. I am also involved in curriculum writing for Holocaust Museum Houston, and most recently have been asked to collaborate with the Boniuk Institute at Rice University to help create resources for high school teachers regarding world religions, belief systems, and religious tolerance. I've taught US History (Academic and AP), World History (Academic and AP), and currently I teach AP European History (my love!) and Pre-AP World Geography at HSPVA. I was honored as one of Houston ISD's six Secondary Teacher of the Year Finalists, and was a finalist for HEB's State Educator of the Year in 2015-2016, and this past year was chosen as the recipient of the Kemerer Award from the Texas Administrator's Legal Digest and Texas Association of Secondary School Principals as the Texas Outstanding Teacher of Social Studies. (I had to speak to 2,000 principals for this one!). My favorite award came in 2017 as I was chosen as a 2017 winner for Humanities Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities as one of five Outstanding Teachers of the Humanities. I really, really love teaching and I am glad it shows!
I was born in Michigan, although my parent's families are from Iowa and St. Louis, MO. We moved to the Houston area when I was in middle school. I still have all my family in the Midwest and enjoy visiting them and St. Louis and Chicago as much as possible. I have lived in Bavaria, Germany (Garmisch-Partenkirchen) where I spent a summer working at a Benedictine Monastery to practice my German (and learned to brew beer at the monastery!) and London, England for several years. I've also spent extended time in The Hague in the Netherlands. I have traveled all over the globe and take any travel opportunities that come my way. This past summer, as my daughter is going into her first year of college and plans to major in Scandinavian Studies and Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies, we went to Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. We had a great time. I had not been to Iceland or Norway before so we checked off a few bucket list items! I've been fortunate to take HSPVA students all over the world - I was invited to attend the Beijing International Student Exchange Camp with four students from HSPVA two summers ago (where we were in Beijing for 10 days with 872 other students from 32 different countries and visited The Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and other important sites in Chinese history), and take students to Europe every spring break. In 2016, I was very honored to be chosen as part of the American Gathering's Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teacher's Program. 20 teachers from around the United States were sent to Germany and Poland to study the Holocaust for three weeks. While I have spent a great deal studying the Weimar Republic, the rise of the Nazis, and the Holocaust, and maintain close ties to the Holocaust Museum Houston, this trip was transformative in so many ways. And...every March I help introduce PVA kids to my favorite places in Europe with Mr. Bingham, Mr. Perez, and a variety of different PVA teachers. I love learning about the world around us and how our world affects our humanity. My academic focus has generally been interwar Europe, but as an Irish-American, I also love learning about anything Celtic and keeping basic Irish traditions alive in my family!
I have two children and am as involved as I can be in their education. My daughter just graduated from HSPVA and plays the Oboe. She is, as I type in August, preparing to start school at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. She received both an academic scholarship as well as a music scholarship for her oboe, even though she won't be majoring in music (hint, hint, my music students). My son will be joining you as a freshman at HSPVA on the bassoon. Both are labeled as GT students, so I have not only professional knowledge of teaching GT kids, but also personal knowledge of parenting them (not always as easy as people might think!). I recognize that just because you are gifted in one area not all things come easily to you. It is my goal to instill good work ethics in my students as well as in my own "personal" children. I believe strongly in the adage, "Hard work trumps talent when talent doesn't work hard."
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask or reach me through the contact me page!
I'm looking forward to another great year at HSPVA. I love everything about HSPVA, from the music in the hallways, my fellow teachers - to our fancy new building (okay, not everything...the stairs...and the mercurial A/C system I could do without) and can't to get to know YOU, the very best part of our school. Welcome!
If you are curious as to why I think Social Studies is so important and have five minutes to spare, you can listen to this address I gave in Austin to Texas principals and other educators.
Video from Class of 2018
Video of Ms. Chase and her 2015 4th period Pre-AP World Geography class taken for Holocaust Museum Houston's outreach programs.
Receiving the Humanities Texas Outstanding Teacher of the Year from Congressman Ted Poe.
Chase the World