Educator Spotlight – June 2018

 

 

 

Educator Spotlight 

We are pleased to feature our first-ever Team of the Month edition of Educator Spotlight! Over the years, we have received several requests to nominate a team of teachers for the Educator Spotlight honor.

Team is defined as a group of educators who work together daily to support learning, student success, and academic outcomes; who create a strong and supportive school community; and who demonstrate the Catapult Learning Core 4 Values of transparency, accountability, humility, and decisiveness.

Announcing the Team of the Month  Educator Spotlight  honorees! Congratulations to our educators!

St. Andrew Catapult Learning Team
Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Team Members:

  • Jill Smith, Teacher
  • Nicole Martin, Counselor
  • Richard Miller, Psychologist

Nominated by: Susan Page, Regional Director

Describe a specific work-related event, activity, or commendation (or continuing pattern of such events) that demonstrates the strength of this team?

St. Andrew is our largest school, with a population of around 600. We have provided 70 remedial services and 345 counseling and psych services this year. Our teacher, Jill Smith, was part of the pilot for the new Achieve Literacy curriculum and has written several K-2 lessons that will be included in the curriculum. Jill did such a great job that she was chosen to be one of the Catapult teachers to be taped to make a training video for Catapult teachers nationwide. Both Nicole Martin and Dick Miller have been recognized as “Specialized Services Professional of the Month” within the last few years.  Jill, Nicole, and Dick have provided the support necessary to keep students with learning, emotional, or behavioral differences at St. Andrew and helps them find success. All three of these Catapult professionals are an invaluable resource to the St. Andrew staff, administration, and parents.

Describe what makes you aware of this the shared enthusiasm and dedication this team has for their students and community?

Despite of the large number of student supported by our Catapult team at St. Andrew, the team always brings a positive attitude and endless enthusiasm for their work. Their communication with the school community is strong, and they are always looking for new approaches to meet the needs of the students referred to them. Our St. Andrew team’s focus is always on the needs of their students. Nancy Matteo, Principal of St. Andrew, reports: “Catapult Learning makes remediation, guidance counseling services, and psycho-educational testing easy and painless. It makes my job so much easier, and my students are thriving!”

Curriculum Development and Cultural Briefing Team
Milburn Academy, FORSCOM Contract
(DODEA)

Team Members:

  • Mr. Nazim Balawi
  • Mr. Kiomars Qahir

Nominated by: Dan Foster, Regional Manager, Milburn Academy

Describe a specific work-related event, activity, or commendation (or continuing pattern of such events) that demonstrates the strength of this team?

This team has spent years developing the highest quality language training and cultural training materials anywhere in the US Army. They also provide language, cultural, and situational training and briefings to military units preparing to deploy to foreign countries. They are equally comfortable in a class of five or in an auditorium of 500 and are always recognized by the customer for their professionalism, thoroughness, and knowledge. Between the two of them, they are responsible for literally hundreds of training products and more than 50 30-page cultural booklets on various countries and states. They have never missed a deadline and can be counted on to complete work on even the shortest notice. They are the backbone that keeps Milburn at JBLM running

Describe what makes you aware of this the shared enthusiasm and dedication this team has for their students and community?

We conduct student surveys of all classes, and both Mr. Balawi and Mr. Qahir receive the highest marks for their classes or briefs. Additionally, their technical acumen allows them to assist our instructors in producing class materials and developing new types of curriculum as requested by the customer. As their direct supervisor, I know I can mention something that “should” be done and before I turn around, they have developed it!

PATH Academy Miami Teachers
Miami, Florida

Team Members:

  • Dina Koonce, Associate Director
  • Karell Law, Teacher
  • Roderick Issac, Teacher
  • D’Anna Tillis, Teacher
  • Deanna Huell, Paraprofessional

Nominated by: Sabrena Payne, Program Director at PATH Academy

Describe a specific work-related event, activity, or commendation (or continuing pattern of such events) that demonstrates the strength of this team?

Of our student population of 75 students, 30 of these students are in third grade. In the state of Florida, third-grade students must pass the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) Test at Level 2 or above to be promoted to fourth grade. On Friday, May 25, we received the scores of our third-grade students. Out of 30, third grade students, 10 of our students PASSED the FSA (33% for PATH Academy, the district’s score was 27% passing). Additionally, five of the remaining 20 students were less than 10 points away from passing. While the other 15 third graders did not achieve a passing score, they DID make significant learning gains! Miami-Dade County School District scored higher and exhibited more growth than the other larger districts within the state of Florida. We are EXTREMELY proud of our students and their achievements!

Describe what makes you aware of this the shared enthusiasm and dedication this team has for their students and community?

What makes me aware of this team’s enthusiasm and dedication to our students and this community is not just the FSA scores, but the team’s daily commitment to educating, mentoring, guiding, feeding, clothing, and pouring into these 75 students who have been entrusted in our care. We are educators, counselors, mentors, parents, and often times, the only ones to speak positivity and life into these young people. Someone once told me that “Students don’t care what you know until they know that you care!” These students learn and excel academically because they know that the staff of PATH Academy . . . We care!

 

Sierra Butte Mud Run Team
Sierra School at Butte, California

Team Members:

  • Benjamin Beiza, Teacher
  • Jason Siemens, Aide
  • Jillian Johnson, Aide
  • Shelby Beachamp, Aide
  • Stephanie Potts, Aide

Nominated by: Sheila McCarthy, Interim Executive Director

Describe a specific work-related event, activity, or commendation (or continuing pattern of such events) that demonstrates the strength of this

The Lords Gym Mud Run is a fundraiser in Butte County that allows community youth to have membership in the gym for $5.00 per month, promoting health and wellness. Our high school students go to Lords Gym two days per week for their Physical Education class.

Describe what makes you aware of this the shared enthusiasm and dedication this team has for their students and community?

The Sierra Butte staff is very community involved and felt strongly about showing our support as an active member of the community. These five staff are members of the FIRST ANNUAL MUD RUN TEAM! A challenge to make the team even bigger next year has been made!

Yonkers, New York Reading Intervention
New York

Team Members:

  • Stephani Nedzamar
  • Marie Fornes
  • Allison McTyre
  • Fran Grasso
  • Diane Carter
  • Mary Kiriyanthan

Nominated by: Kathy Ciuci, Deputy Director of Operations

Describe a specific work-related event, activity, or commendation (or continuing pattern of such events) that demonstrates the strength of this

As in many areas, our New England programs are spread across several states, districts, and schools. Geography poses many challenges, especially in a region where snowy weather and tornados can really hamper our ability to travel as planned for school visits. Our Yonkers team, led by Lead Teacher Stephani Nedzamar, has created a program where teachers pull together to provide each other with mutual support. Teachers in Yonkers meet at least once a month on their own to discuss their challenges, to learn from each other, to share ideas and materials, and to provide that forum where they can share, vent, cry, yell, laugh, talk, and all the other things that pull them together and build their team relationship. The group takes initiatives for their own professional development, including observations of each other’s lessons and discussions around curriculum approaches. All of the teachers are becoming better as much by working together as by the professional development and training they receive from Catapult.

Describe what makes you aware of this the shared enthusiasm and dedication this team has for their students and community?

By pulling together, our feedback from principals and teachers at our schools has been terrific – and it grows more positive each year. Parents tell us how well they students are performing since they began working with our teachers. Principals tell us that they love our teachers and are hearing such wonderful things from the parents and classroom teachers. Our Yonkers surveys continue to improve and move us closer to 100% promoter status. For this team, the sum continues to grow greater than the sum of the parts!

High Road School of Hartford Primary Team
Hartford, Connecticut

Team Members:

  • Anjali Quinones, School Social Worker
  • Anabelitza Lozada, School Social Worker
  • Turanesh Kirkwood, Administrative Assistant
  • Joan Thiesen, School Nurse
  • Christine Hartwich, Special Education Teacher
  • Carley Weber, Special Education Teacher
  • Thomas DiLella, Special Education Teacher
  • Elizabeth Sciarra, Special Education Teacher
  • Marc Cutler, Substitute Teacher
  • Deven Scott, Assistant Teacher
  • Gabrielle Thorpe, Paraprofessional
  • Solimar Mercado, Assistant Teacher
  • Raynor Blanton, Paraprofessional
  • Alejandro Bermudez, Assistant Teacher
  • Andy Williams Jr, Floating Assistant Teacher
  • Daniel Carrillo, paraprofessional
  • Alexandria Horton, Assistant Teacher
  • Vanderzee Whitney, Floating Assistant Teacher
  • Pedro Guzman, Paraprofessional
  • Christopher Baskerville, Assistant Teacher
  • Vivian Ortiz, Paraprofessional

Nominated by: Jennifer Johnson, Education Director, High Road School at Hartford Connecticut

Describe a specific work-related event, activity, or commendation (or continuing pattern of such events) that demonstrates the strength of this

This school year, we started with 36 students at the end of August and currently have 49 students enrolled. Naturally, this growth has presented challenges, as new staff members join the team to support the growing students’ needs. Our veteran staff have served as mentors and the new staff have not only acclimated to our day-to-day operations, but they have brought exceptional talents, too!  The staff has an unwavering care for the students and their success. We are transitioning three students back to public school as a result of their success. 

With embodying the Core 4, we have been able to develop our decisiveness, embrace transparency among our team members, and hold ourselves accountable for our contributions to the school, all while sharing our mistakes as lessons learned.

Describe what makes you aware of this the shared enthusiasm and dedication this team has for their students and community?

From the hand-painted murals to the ceiling tiles representing our favorite local teams, the moment you walk through our doors, you can see the staff’s enthusiasm and dedication. Throughout the day, the staff’s creativity to assist students in finding success in their behavioral struggles is evident, from having push-up contests and balance-board challenges. Students might be on a sight word walk around the hallway or doing a math facts obstacle course around their room. Staff are solution-focused and have creative ideas to any issue we may encounter. Visitors and district representatives always comment on how welcome they feel and how much learning they see going on. This is a phenomenal team to be a part of, and our continual referrals and increasing enrollment shows that we are not the only ones who think so!           

Recently, one of the parents called to commend her son’s team on a job well done! She said “Thank you for all you do and you have been doing!  I feel like I can send my son to school with my eyes closed and not worry!  For the first time ever, he is doing great!”  That sums up why this team is amazing! 

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