We know that teachers and students work hard all school year long – which is precisely why we created the School Specialty Honor Roll! The Honor Roll is our opportunity to recognize and reward teachers and their students for all the incredible efforts they’ve put forth during the school year.
This is the third year we asked followers to help us celebrate teachers’ achievements and spread the word by nominating an exemplary classroom (either their own or another’s) for the year’s School Specialty Honor Roll – and the results were outstanding! Ultimately, three winners were selected and we’d like to share a little bit about each of them:
Ms. Catron’s Kindergarten ESL Class (28 Students)
Goodlett Elementary School, Memphis, TN
My students are five and six year old English Language Learners. They are all native Spanish speakers. Some of them came to school in August speaking little or no English whatsoever. They could not recognize any alphabet, numbers or even their own names. Now in March, some of these students are reading decodable readers, writing sentences, and speaking in English. Some of my ELLs are the highest performing students in their classrooms. I have one student named Sophia who came to us from Mexico. Her family speaks no English and even faced deportation this year but Sophia was determined to be successful and learn as much as she could. Thankfully she is still here and continuing her education. I am so proud of how far my group has come! But there is still work to be done.
Thanks, Ms. Catron, for the great selfie and photos of your adorable students sporting your medals!
Mrs. Dye’s B8 DIT (Digital Input Technologies) Class (25 Students)
Ni River Middle School, Spotsylvania, VA
Every once in awhile, a teacher has the opportunity to facilitate the learning of an exceptional classroom full of students. The term exceptional is not necessarily determined by the students intellectual capacities, learning styles and motivation levels. Exceptional can also mean how a class becomes a team and accepts each person in the classroom as an individual who may be different but clearly part of the team. Several examples come to mind when declaring my eighth grade B8 Digital Input Technologies class to be exceptional and deserving of the Classroom Direct Honor Roll Certificate. The first example involves a special needs student named Luke. Luke came to our class after several weeks into the second semester of school because he was having difficulties in another class. Having been in the classroom for nearly seventeen years, I have learned every child who enters my classroom has a gift and a purpose. My job is to connect with each student so I can motivate, teach and nurture every student to become all that he or she can be as well as learn the required competencies. Although I had seen Luke around our school campus, I had not officially met him prior to the first day he walked in our class. The students on the other hand have known Luke or have had him as a classmate in the past. As Luke walked in, I had two students volunteer to sit beside him and help if the need arises. Since the first day, these two students and the rest of our class of twenty four students have gone above and beyond to make Luke feel safe, help him complete a task and encourage him when he is frustrated. On one day in particular, I was showing the students a completed example of the video project they were working on in class about themselves. The title of the project is called The Instabook Video Project and the example video encompassed information on myself to include images of my family, various interests and my favorite song. After the Example Video was viewed by the class, I began to hear a student sobbing. I looked over and saw several students patting Luke on the back and saying, “it’s okay, Luke” and “Awww.” I went over to Luke and quietly asked him what was wrong. He exclaimed through his tears, “I don’t know why I’m crying!” The song set to the video was, Amazing Grace. The compassion students bestowed upon Luke’s reaction to the video was definitely amazing, graceful and extremely inspiring. The second example that makes this class an exceptional class occurred on a day when the students were showcasing and presenting their completed videos to the entire class. It’s not easy for thirteen and fourteen year old young men and women to explain who they are in writing much less via a video using images, captions and their favorite song. When it was time for Meg to show her video to the class, she sat very still with her head lowered and her hands covering her eyes. It was clear she did not want to have the class look into the small window of her life. At the end of the video everyone noticed Meg still sitting in the same position and clapped loudly just to let Meg know her video was outstanding and she is a member of our team. This, too, was inspirational and made this teacher’s heart sing a melody of joy. What makes a group of students from different socioeconomic backgrounds, who have different personalities and different learning styles a class deserving of being called exceptional and honorable? I believe students who show compassion, kindness, a positive attitude and acceptance of others is such a class. These are skills that will carry each and every student far in life and allow them to become citizens who are much needed in the world we live in today. P.S. Two weeks later…at this time all student videos have been completed, presented and graded. There was one student in the class who wanted to stand as his video was being presented. As we all watched the video, Luke swayed to the music of his favorite song, Set it all Free written by Scarlett Johanson. We all heard the words, “Do anything at all. I can do anything at all.” When the video ended, Luke beamed as the entire class clapped and shouted!
Ms. Dye submitted this photo of her DIT class. If you look closely, you’ll see Luke holding their trophy. She wrote, “Our principal made a big ‘to do’ over it and read the essay to the class. All of the students have been wearing their citizenship award proudly today!”
Mrs. Morris’ Kindergarten Class (16 Students)
Bruning Elementary, Wilmington, IL
This year we decided as a class to participate in different activities in our community. We live in a very small town and I thought that it was important for our students to be more involved. We celebrated “thank an officer” day by including our whole school. We asked for every student to bring in a dollar donation. We used the funds to purchase each officer a lunch. In the lunch there was a subway gift card, a Gatorade, chips and a chocolate bar. We also made a gift basket for our fire department. It included snacks and drinks. Our small town did a “bewitched on Route 66” theme during October and our class participated by decorating a witch to be displayed in our downtown area. We won 3rd place! In the month of December our town had a “decorate a Christmas tree” in our downtown area that we participated in as well. I’ve also created a Facebook classroom page to keep our community and parents involved in our day to day activities. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback in regards to the Facebook page. Thank you for this opportunity.
Mrs. Morris was so thankful for the opportunity again. Yes, you read that right: AGAIN! She and her class won last year’s Honor Roll as well! Her students were so excited to receive their medals.
We would like to thank all winners for their determination, teamwork, and citizenship this year. Each winning classroom was awarded the following items for their accomplishments:
- $500 School Specialty Merchandise Certificate
- Beautiful 2017 Trophy
- Classroom Student Awards
- Bragging Rights for a Year!
Lastly, we would like to thank all participants for of the wonderful entries we received as a part of this contest. We were truly moved by your sincerity, dedication and kindness. You’re all to be congratulated for your exemplary efforts this year – and we hope to see you back next year!