Teacher - Pomona Elementary School
Grand Junction, CO
Shawn Carstensen Hays sets high expectations and motivates her second-grade students to excel at Pomona Elementary School in Grand Junction. Her “Book Talks” allow students to work together as they share information about topical reading materials. As a result, even remedial readers make significant gains while helping their classmates learn. Mrs. Hays also conducts a photography project in which students use a disposable camera to take photos for a book which they write and present to their families. In addition to standard report card grading, she implemented a continuum evaluation process that includes regular communication with parents to demonstrate their children’s specific needs in reading, writing and mathematics. A Nationally Board Certified teacher, Mrs. Hays also created a conflict management program that helps students learn to resolve their own problems both in and out of the classroom.
Teacher - Frontier Elementary School
Colorado Springs, CO
Kathy Wenninger’s third-grade classroom at Frontier Elementary School in Colorado Springs comes alive through the integration of arts within a standards-based curriculum. It is not uncommon to find her students waltzing to Beethoven, taking an imaginary flight to China, or creating medieval panels in the course of math, history and creative writing lessons. Ms. Wenninger's instructional creativity helps the class maintain focus on learning standards, resulting in 85 percent of her students scoring at or above grade level on high-stakes exams. She is chairperson of the arts curriculum committee and is on the planning cadre for the district's new “Arts and Ideas School,” scheduled to open in 2004. In 2002, she traveled to Japan as a Fulbright Scholar, learning about the Japanese culture and education system.
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