Teachers of the Year visit Legislative Hall
Delaware 2016 Teacher of the Year Sandra Hall, joined by the state’s 2016 District Teachers of the Year, addressed legislators in both chambers today after lawmakers passed a concurrent resolution honoring the educators. Governor Jack Markell also invited the teachers to his office to hear their insights on education issues in the state.
The resolution sponsors were Sen. David Sokola and Rep. Earl Jaques, who chair the Senate and House’s respective education committees.
In her address, Hall, a fourth grade teacher at Smyrna School District’s North Smyrna Elementary School, talked to lawmakers about how educators use data, such as student assessment results, to inform their instruction. But, she said, that information alone isn’t enough. Teachers also must know the “stories behind the data” – the out-of-school influences that may be affecting a student’s ability to learn.
“The stories of our students and ‘the faces behind the data’ challenge us. They confront us every day to provide them the most enriching learning experience possible, and to do it with care, compassion, and a sense of security along the way,” Hall said.
“As teachers we understand that we are – and should be -- held accountable for our students’ progress. We analyze various data about our students’ progress every week, but it only tells us part of the story. It cannot tell a child's whole story. We know that when students struggle outside of school, they will struggle in school. This is what the data tells us.”
To help students grow, teachers must take the time to know the child behind the data, Hall said.
“We must understand, appreciate, and use the data and the children’s stories as a plan for action. For those struggling, this may mean a snack, a hug, a kind word or food sent home on weekends,” she said. “It may mean we become their cheerleader or counselor, or we may have to search for more support that we cannot provide alone. We must meet their physical and emotional needs so they will be ready to learn.
“But we must also help our families help their children. We can establish this through better communication, organizing and coordinating learning activities that reinforce classroom skills at home, and collaboration with our communities,” she said.
The 2016 District Teachers of the Year are:
· Brandywine: Diana Golden, Forwood Elementary, Grade 5 math, reading (on special assignment as a teacher leader at Harlan Elementary for 1 year)
· Caesar Rodney: Sandra Krugh, Simpson Elementary, Grade 1
· Cape Henlopen: Kristin Gray, Shields Elementary, Grades K - 5 mathematics
· Capital: Lyndsey Cook, Kent County Community School, Grades 5-6 science/mathematics
· Christina: Meghan Farrell, Brader Elementary, Grade 4
· Colonial: Laura Bossert, Downie Elementary, Grade 4
· Delmar: Lori Smith, Delmar Middle, Grades 5-8 mathematics
· Indian River: Jennifer L. Cordrey, Indian River High, Grades 9-12 agriscience
· Lake Forest: Kelly A. Sipple, Chipman Middle, grades 6-8 business education
· Laurel: Mary Pierce-Cass, Laurel High, Grade 9 integrated/physical science
· Milford: Brandy Cooper, Milford Central Academy, Grade 6 mathematics
· New Castle County Vo-Tech: Nicole Towers-Bowe, St. Georges Technical High, early childhood education
· POLYTECH: Kristen L. Charles, POLYTECH High, Grades 9-12 mathematics
· Red Clay Consolidated: Kristen McKenna, Linden Hill Elementary, Grade 5
· Seaford: Ashley Adlam-Hernandez, Blades Elementary, Kindergarten English language arts/social studies
· Smyrna: Sandra Hall, North Smyrna Elementary, Grade 4
· Sussex Tech: Anthony V. Carmen, Sussex Tech High, Grades 9-12 electronics engineering technology
· Woodbridge: Jenna White, Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center, Grade 1