Educator Spotlight: April 2014

Educator Spotlight

educator spotlightAnnouncing the April 2014 Educator Spotlight honorees! Congratulations to our educators.

The Educator Spotlight is a monthly feature on our Catapult Corner Blog. The educators that are highlighted are nominated by their Catapult colleagues in recognition of the positive impact they have on children and schools throughout the country. They are our very own shining stars!

  • Amy Bachert – Teacher – Quakake, PA
  • Arlene Frame – Literacy First Consultant – Orlando, FL
  • Celeste Resendiz – Teacher – Riverside, CA
  • Ron Martel – PD Coach – New York, NY

Amy Bachert-headshotAmy Bachert – Teacher

  • Quakake, PA
  • BA Elementary Education/English, Kutztown University, Pursuing MA English/Creative Writing, SNHU.

Why did you become a teacher?

First and foremost, I became a teacher because I love kids. They are just plain awesome and are not afraid to be silly. Secondly, I knew that I could explain concepts and ideas in a way that is understandable. Everything can be made simple if you take the time to really break it down. Thirdly, I am just a big kid myself. Why not spend my days with others that think the way I do? Learning should be fun!

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

My students. They are the reason I go to work in the morning. I get so excited when I have an awesome lesson that I know they will just love.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

I don’t know if I can pick just one, so this is my most recent. Four weeks ago, I started drilling my third graders on the parts of a fraction and what each part meant or represented. The week after that, I went to pick them up and their teacher said to me, “I have to tell you something.” I was nervous of what she was going to say but she continued, “I started fractions today. Your kids were the only ones that knew the parts of a fraction and could tell me what each part did.” Proud did not even begin to describe the feeling I had at that moment.

What have you learned from your students?

Be prepared for anything in class, whether it’s an answer that takes you on a great rabbit-trail or a teachable moment that should be taken advantage of. This is my fifth year as a full time teacher, and I can honestly say, my best lessons, the ones that I look back on and think, “Wow! That was fantastic!” all contained aspects that were totally controlled by the students. Use anything and everything to create a learning environment. They remember more than you realize, and it’s usually the unplanned lessons in class that stick with them the most.

Arlene Frame-Headshot-CROPPED-April2014Arlene Frame – Literacy First Consultant

  • Orlando, FL
  • B.S. Elementary Education, M.A. Administration & Supervision K-12; Univ. of Tennessee/Rollins College

How did you become a Literacy First consultant?

After retiring (at 30 years) from teaching and curriculum administration in Orange County schools in Orlando, Florida, Arlene Bridges, the head of curriculum K-12 in Orange County suggested that I look into a Company called Literacy First.  She also recommended that I call Ann Simpson because she was doing some work for this company at the present time.  Ann raved about Literacy First and suggested I call Paula Whitter who was head at the time of training for Literacy First .  I then gave Paula a call and later spoke with June Lynch who I worked with for several years in Orange Cty.  The rest is history.  I was invited to a training  and as soon as they put that Phonics Continuum in my hands I was sold. Sixteen years later I am still facilitating the Literacy First process in many of the schools I work in.

What do you love most about being a consultant for Literacy First?

I would think that at the top of my list would be the wonderful colleagues of Literacy First and Catapult Learning.  Next, would be the interaction with administrators, teachers and the children in the classrooms.  To see them grow as educators and students makes everything I do worthwhile.  When they all engage in this process and have passion about it as I do, they soon begin to see what happens as the culture and infrastructure of the school changes.  I then no longer am labeled the “bad guy” of change but the positive force that is driving this challenge.

What is your greatest Literacy First consulting success story?

Really this is hard to say because after sixteen years of three year schools there are many success stories.  Probably one of the proudest moments was when I took on a low performing Middle School in Kansas to do Content level training.  Within two years they became a School of Excellence and were featured at the Literacy First Institute because their scores soared off the charts.  It was such a great accomplishment for me because most of my years were spent in the elementary sector.  So I was very proud of that.  Then on a daily basis when I am in a school there is always an administrator, teacher, or child saying “thank you” for being here.  I love to see a child’s eyes light up because all of a sudden they understand and their self esteem soars.

What have you learned from your experience as a consultant?

To be a good listener

To praise the good I’ve seen in administrators, teachers or a child.

Emotional Intelligence- a leader’s emotions are contagious.

Leaders excel not through skill and smarts but by connections with others.

Empathy and Self Awareness

To be strong and have passion for what you believe in.

Celeste Resendiz-headshot-april2014Celeste Resendiz – Teacher

  • Riverside, CA
  • B.S. Psychology

Why did you become a teacher?

I became a teacher because I want to help give all students confidence in their academic abilities.  I’ll sometimes hear students put themselves down and say, “I can’t do this” or “This is too hard.”  I want them to put forth their greatest effort and believe they do have the capability to get it right.  I know these students are capable—I want them to believe it.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

I love how Catapult Learning gives me the opportunity to work with students in small numbers.  I am grateful I get to offer students a more individualized learning experience.  This way, I am better able to attend to each student’s specific learning style.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

While meeting with a classroom teacher of one of my students, she explained how one of her second graders would sometimes cry in class when she had trouble understanding the lesson.  I didn’t see this anxiety from the student in my class until one day when she was reading aloud and began to stumble over the words.

She had trouble sounding out words and her reading was quite choppy.  I encouraged her to continue reading but as she did so, her voice became softer and softer until it was no longer audible.  She slowly started sinking into her chair and began whimpering.  I had confidence that she could finish the book but noticed that she lacked the confidence in herself.  This student’s insecurity trickled into future reading sessions and the mid-reading breakdowns would happen again.

One day I had a brief talk with the student after class and told her that it is important to keep going even when you get stuck.  The only way to improve one’s reading skills is to practice.  Don’t stop.  Keep going.

The next day I noticed the student read through the book without giving up—she read it the entire way through! I was very happy for her and gave her much praise for her efforts.  She was visibly proud.  The breakdowns never happened again.

I find it effective to allow students to feel pride in their learning.  This helps them develop a love for it.  This student definitely encouraged me.

What have you learned from your students?

In general, all of my students teach me to be flexible enough to fit their unique learning styles.

Specifically, each of my students teach me different things at their different ages.  My first graders remind me to be funny and animated.  My fifth graders teach me to be compassionate and understanding.  My seventh graders teach me to be patient, persistent and open.

Ron Martel-headshot-CROPPED-april2014Ron Martel – Coach

  • New York, NY
  • M.S.Ed. Fordham University

What is your prior teaching experience?

I taught for 16 years and was principal for 13.

Why did you decide to become a coach?

With my experience as a teacher and administrator I am well aware of the tremendous responsibilities that teachers have today. With this in mind I partner with teachers to support their efforts and in the end see an improvement in each students’ growth.

Why do you feel coaching is a valuable professional development experience for teachers?

Tremendous demands are required of teachers today.  Having another professional walking with them to meet these demands can only produce positive results in the classrooms and schools.

What is your most rewarding Catapult Learning coaching success story? 

I think the most rewarding success that I have experienced as a coach over these last few years is being able to partner with teachers who were reluctant in the beginning. Building confidence with each one of them and seeing their growth as a professional is truly rewarding.

Catapult Learning has long recognized that our teachers, coaches, specialized services professionals, and consultants are the foundation upon which our company stands. We literally wouldn’t be here without their tireless efforts to help struggling students succeed!

Thanks again to all of this month’s honorees! You can thank them too, please leave your comments for our educators below!

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