Teachers and their students work hard to grow and learn together every year. The School Specialty Honor Roll is an opportunity to recognize and reward some of the incredibly resilient, kind, and talented students and teachers in our communities.
2018 School Specialty Honor Roll Entries
This year’s nominated teachers and students were truly moving, and three winners were chosen to be recognized for their efforts. Check out each entry below and read about how all these students and teachers worked hard to stand out and succeed this year:
Ms. Burnham’s 6th Grade Social Studies Classroom (120 Students)
This year my Social Studies Studies students formed the Minion Ways to Care Club at my school. Several students came forth and shared with me that students were not being kind to each other. They wanted to do something about it! So after a meeting during lunchtime in the classroom they formed the Minion Ways to Care Club with myself as their adviser. The students agreed on a mission statement: “Our club will promote kindness and service to others in our school, local community, state , country and international communities. We will lead by example.” The students elected a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. These students then assigned roles such as tech support, transport/collection crew, and poster makers to other students. They voted on a club name and “Minion Ways to Care” won (our classroom theme is Minions with Mel the stuffed Minion As a classroom pet). They agreed on a slogan, “Minions Matter and so do you!” Their first service project was participating in our school district Breast Cancer Awareness campaign . Then the following service projects just enveloped: collecting items for hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico, collecting cans of food for local food pantries, collecting change for the March of Dimes, making and collecting homemade crocheted and knitted hats to donate to local hospital after packaging them in hand decorated gift bags. They also invited our special needs self-contained class to partner with them in several projects such as promoting Rock Your Socks day – Downs Syndrome Awareness Day (plus other projects), created a subcommittee called “Help Kenya Girls Go to School” which was inspired by YouTuber Lily Singh’s visit to Kenya and promotion of all girls deserve an education. That’s just the beginning! This group of 11 and 12 year olds is on fire! Next up was raising donations for ALS, painting kindness slogans on rocks for the school front landscape area, writing letters of encouragement, and collecting Care Package items for service men, women, and dogs deployed overseas, making Posters for Autism Awareness and Choose to Include for their school, and marching in the local Dover Days parade to celebrate and promote community service while passing out safe lollipops to little children on parade route. Whew! That brings us to the end of a successful school year!! This all began with a few young students wanting to make their school community a better place! Hats off to the future leaders of America! It shows how young people can make the world they live in a better place. As they came together to help others in need they also learned to be better classmates to each other. Personally, I am so proud of how they reached out an included a special needs class as helpers in their club. Social Studies/Geography students are making a positive impact on their environment! (please note the students wrote a collective letter after their initial meeting to the Principal for permission to form this club and received total support from him.)
Ms. Abigail Daniels’ 4th Grade Class (18 Students)
My students are amazing. Every single day, they remind me why I chose to become an educator. I teach at a Title 1 school in East Tennessee. The majority of my students live below the poverty line and approximately 75% of our student body receives free or reduced lunch. I have a mixture of white and Hispanic students in my classroom. In my classroom, we embrace diversity and use Spanish phrases throughout our day. I believe that motivating students is the key to having a successful classroom. I always remind my students that if we want to be the best, we have to push ourselves to be the best. Every morning, at least 15 of my students come to me for morning math practice before school hours. Together, my students and I have made a commitment to be extraordinary. Before school even starts, most of my students have already been in the classroom practicing their math skills for over 45 minutes. However, the hard work does not stop. This group of students refuses to quit. My students know that hard work and effort pay off in the long run. My students would rather be called “hard working” than “smart” any day of the week. Recently, we were watching a video of former Olympian David Redmond. The video showed when Redmond tore his hamstring in the Olympics, but he continued to finish the race with the help of his father. This video really hit home with my students. One of my students proudly raised his hand and stated that the video was just like our class. Every single time someone falls down, we are there to pick each other up. Nobody is going to be left behind and not finish the race. I was moved to tears. My students may not have the easiest lives, but they certainly have the biggest hearts and best attitudes. Our classroom moto is that Daniels’ Dogs are…
I am so proud of my Daniels’ Dogs for all their hard work and perseverance throughout this year. Together, we have not only learned how to divide and add and subtract fractions, but we have also learned valuable lessons about hard work and effort. I am nothing without my wonderful students. I love my Daniels’ Dogs.
Miss Ayers’ 2nd Grade Classes (43 Students)
The 2017-2018 school year is my first year as a teacher. I have desired to be a teacher my whole life, and have always wanted to be an advocate for how students best learn. I always imagined my classroom being very innovattive, student-centered, and an all around a fun place to learn. However everything I thought would happen was changed when our first day of school was pushed back two weeks due to Hurricane Harvey. The week before school started, we had a meet the teacher night and I had many parents asking if we would still have school on Monday. Little did I know, one of the largest hurricanes we’ve ever seen was barreling towards the Gulf Coast. Luckily our school did not flood, but we had a few very close calls. When the school year started, we spent a lot of time getting to trust each other and building student-teacher relationships. Students were scared every time it rained that the flood waters were coming back. I spent many rainy days ensuring students that they would not be flooded into the school. All of this was happening while I was learning to be a teacher. I never would have thought teaching was as hard as it really is. I spent lots of time teaching the students appropriate behaviors and teaching them what I thought was math. All of the craziness at the beginning of the year had gotten us behind in our curriculum and I had to make up time, but I had no idea how to do that. The only thing I could think was to teach quickly (not best for most students), in a whole group lecture style setting (not advised to lecture to 2nd graders). While I knew my students were behind in their learning and nothing had me prepared for when we took our first test in December when only 10% of my students passed the test. I was shocked, but thought to myself, “it will get better, it’s not like it could get worse.” Our curriculum was finally starting to slow down and I could do a little bit more intervention for some of my struggling students. I thought I was adjusting enough to fix the problem. I thought our class was doing better; until we took our next test in February and again I had a 10% passing rate. I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I was to blame. I had never once imagined that my students would not do well in school. I questioned myself, my ability, and whether I was worthy of teaching these students. All I could think was, if someone else was teaching them, maybe they’d do better. The only reason I thought that I was the right teacher to be with those students was because I knew there was no other teacher in the world that could love those students more than I could. After a traumatic start to our year, I knew those students needed love. So I kept myself together and completely changed the way I was teaching. I knew I couldn’t just change a little bit, but rather I needed to completely redo everything we were doing in the classroom. I started doing small group guided math teaching. I started using more effective computer programs. I started doing heavy intervention. For the next month between the February and March tests, my classroom was a completely reinvented space. My goal for the next test was to get up to 50% of my class passing. My students and I worked harder than I even knew possible. We learned strategies, we learned songs and sayings, we learned how to solve a problem and not just find an answer. When the test day finally came, I knew I had put everything I had into those students. I poured my heart and soul into getting those students to love learning. As my students tested for two straight days, I barely breathed. I was more nervous than a turkey on Thanksgiving. I kept telling myself, even if the test scores aren’t there, I know my students learned, and I know they have a passion and a desire to continue to learn. That was going to be enough for me. When all the testing had finished, I turned in my scores to my math instructional specialist. Praying for passing scores, I closed my eyes and heard my math specialist scream as she reads the 86% passing score to me. My heart soars and I am in disbelief. I look at the number over and over and over again. I had improved my passing percentage by 76%, which was unthinkable before the test. My principal and assistant principals were overjoyed at this miraculous improvement. When I told my students of their improvement I was expecting them to be happy, but I had not expected them to be so overjoyed they were moved to tears. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this was possibility. A great teacher is not great because of their own success, but rather for their students’ success. The huge growth of my students tells me I am a successful teachers and that this career is worth all the hard work. I was incredibly proud of myself but even more so proud of my students and how hard they had worked in that month to improve. I still have a lot of growth to make as a teacher, but this was a big step for me in my first year journey.
How to Get on the Honor Roll
Get inspired and write down what makes your students special next year. When you see that the 2019 Honor Roll has started, enter your classroom’s story in for a chance to win. We love to read about all the cool things teachers and their students are doing.