At Stratton Meadows Elementary School in Colorado Springs, a school with a high-poverty and minority population, second-grade teacher Jacqueline Bobbitt has made literacy, high standards and achievement watchwords for success. Research-based models, such as the Four Block Model, and sound practices like journal writing, manipulatives and literature are central to her classroom. Combined with a standards-based curriculum, interconnected lessons, and detailed tracking of each student's progress, the result has been a dramatic increase in school-wide scores. Ms. Bobbitt shares her expertise with colleagues, directing them in a school-wide pilot program to improve literacy and acting as the school's literacy coach. She also chairs the school-wide improvement committee and serves on the district quality focus team.
Title I teacher Theresa McCain at Gardner School, a high-poverty school in Gardner, teaches math to second and fourth graders, reading to fourth and seventh graders, and one-on-one intensive reading with young children in grades 1-3. With this latter group, Mrs. McCain uses a Reading Recovery model she adapted for Gardner School to ensure that every student can read by the third grade. Her "math backpacker" enrichment program helps students develop math skills with the aid of family members. She has won recognition for her volunteer literacy tutoring program, PALS (People Actively Listening to Students Read). Mrs. McCain frequently aligns her curriculum to state standards, employs alternative assessments, and trains her colleagues to do the same.
At Broadmoor Elementary School in Colorado Springs, principal Nancy Saltzman's philosophy is "doing what's best for kids." She developed a mentorship program that matches students with professionals in their special talent or interest areas for two to three months, after which students report on their experience. To encourage students to look beyond their school and serve those in need, Dr. Saltzman created "Cub Clubs," engaging small groups of students in service projects throughout their community. She meets weekly with individual teachers to discuss the children's learning and achievement, and teaches graduate-level classes on the Broadmoor Elementary campus to help teachers stay current with instructional practices such as standards-based education and appropriate and alternative assessment
Fourth-grade science teacher Laura Thompson-Beato brings learning to life and connects her lessons to the real world at King-Murphy Elementary School in Evergreen. She engages students in a murder mystery unit that integrates science, language arts and critical thinking, and a mock trial in which students act as judges and attorneys. Each year, Ms. Thompson-Beato has her students conduct dissections of actual organs under the supervision of medical professionals and parents from the community. She co-created a summer program called "Mindscapes" to promote girls' interest in science and math careers through guest speakers. Ever since she began coordinating the school science fair, the quantity and quality of participation by both students and parents have soared.
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