CPSD Celebrates American Education Week 2022

CPSD Celebrates American Education Week
Posted on 11/16/2022
Graphic with 11 district staff members and the phrase "American Education Week"

Clover Park School District is celebrating American Education Week by highlighting some of the staff members providing students with the opportunities they need to learn and grow in the classroom.


 Holly Ming and Jesenia Williams, Oakbrook Elementary School

Graphic with two teachers and the caption "American Education Week. Elementary Educators. Loyal. Empathetic. Hard Working."

Oakbrook Elementary School second grade teachers Holly Ming and Jesenia Williams are collaborative teachers who work together to shape some of the youngest minds in our district.
Holly and Jesenia have worked as a team at Oakbrook for the past 10 years. They work together to problem solve, ease each other’s workload and collaborate on new techniques. “We’re able to bounce ideas off each other and continually work together to improve our teaching strategies as students change over time,” Holly said.
This year, Holly and Jesenia have incorporated Heggerty Phonemic Awareness curriculum into their classes. By following Heggerty, they have added lessons where students increase their phonic skills by breaking apart syllables and rhyming words, sometimes in association with hand movements. “We’re able to use it as a whole group and we’re able to apply it to small group lessons as well,” Jesenia said. “It’s engaging for students, and it helps them build the important basic skills for pronunciation.”
Holly and Jesenia view elementary educators as loyal, empathetic and hard working. They are crucial to the foundation of all learning and development. “We are the foundation for the years ahead,” Holly said. “We approach things by remembering that if students don’t have the foundational skills, they can’t support their future education.”

Amelia Pernell and Patricia Smith, Lochburn Middle School

Graphic with two teachers and the caption "American Education Week. Middle School Educators. Consistent. Compassionate. Lifelong Learners."

Lochburn Middle School teachers Amelia Pernell and Patricia Smith have incorporated a new technique in their math classrooms with great success.
Amelia and Patricia have both embraced blended learning. This teaching style combines electronic and in-class instruction, allowing students to use a variety of digital activities to enhance their learning while also receiving in-person instruction in the classroom.
As students come to class with a brief understanding of the topic from their online materials, Amelia and Patricia spend more time in class helping students expand their mastery of the subject and adjust lessons to fit their needs.

“Now that they’ve become comfortable with the format, I am adding collaborative components with teamwork and peer review,” said Patricia, who teaches sixth grade.
Amelia and Patricia work with students at an important time in students’ development and value each precious year with them. “Helping students understand what learning method works best for them will help them in everything else they do,” said Amelia, who teaches grades 7-8.

 Amelia and Patricia view middle school educators as consistent, compassionate lifelong learners and work hard to model that in their classrooms.

Jessica Babbitt, Joshua Gallegos, Dominique Lowery, Destiny McFarlan and Sarah Nainby, Clover Park High School

Graphic with five teachers with the caption "American Education Week. High School Educators. Resilient. Ambitious. Adaptable."

Jessica Babbitt, Joshua Gallegos, Dominique Lowery, Destiny McFarlan and Sarah Nainby work as a team teaching English Language Arts (ELA) to 10th graders at Clover Park High School.
The team began the year by getting to know each other’s strengths by observing one another’s teaching styles and implementing similar classroom structures. “If a student has a schedule change, they move to a new teacher who has the same system set up,” Destiny said. “They are in the same spot of the same text and can hit the ground running as they move forward."
The most recent unit 10th grade students completed was focused on John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men.” Before reading the book, students participated in context-building exercises to learn more about the 1930s. “They learned about what life was like for migrant workers or for people who might have disabilities. Not only were the students engaged with the activity, but they learned a lot more than they would have with the novel alone,” Jessica said.
The ELA team agrees that their role in student lives surpasses academics as mentors to young adults. “Positive adult relationships and conflict management is also important to students,” Sarah said.
“I agree with Sarah, and as a Black educator, I also know I can be an influence to students who look like me, and I can break stereotypes for students who don’t,” Dominique said.
This team knows high school educators are resilient, ambitious and adaptable teachers and lead by example. “Something I try to keep with me as a teacher is making sure my students can look back as adults and confidently say I was a positive role model in their life,” Joshua said.

Rachel Stone, Special Education, Lochburn Middle School

American Education Week. Special Education. Determined. Empathetic. All-encompassing.

Rachel Stone is a special education teacher and department chair for Hudtloff Middle School who works with students to build important academic and social skills.

Rachel has worked at Hudtloff for nine years and teaches the school’s Success Program which focuses on behavioral skills. “Behavior may impede some students’ learning, so I spend a lot of time building relationships,” she said. “You have to make sure a relationship is in place before you ask students to do things that may be challenging for them.”

Students of each grade level go to Rachel and her team for support, and each student has different needs. “Not only do we teach all grades, but all subjects in addition to behavior,” Rachel said. “A lot of planning is involved, and I couldn’t get anything done without my incredible paraeducators who have to know each curriculum and make sure each student leaves with the knowledge they need for their general education classes.”

A source of Rachel’s determination is knowing her students will thrive in the future because of her advocacy today. “I’m preparing students for a job setting in my class,” she said. “How do you problem solve? How do you regulate your emotions when you don’t like your coworker or a task you’re given? How do you deal with trauma at home and still be productive at work? I let them know they can do all these things and succeed.”

Special education teachers are some of the most determined, empathetic and all-encompassing teachers.

Todd Griffin, Guest Teacher for CPSD

American Education Week. Substitute Educators Day. Dedicated .Committed. Relentless..

Today is National Substitute Appreciation Day and we’re wrapping up our American Education Week series by highlighting guest teacher Todd Griffin.

Todd has helped keep classes in session at CPSD since 1993. “I am retired military, so I think I love the challenge of stepping into fluid situations to and making sure students continue to learn when their teacher steps away,” he said. “Things can be predictably unpredictable when you enter into new classrooms.”

Todd comes from a large family of teachers who inspired him to enter the field once his time in the military came to an end. “My uncle used to tell me that for every hour teaching, you have to spend two more preparing,” Todd said. “Also, as a teacher, you’re always learning from other teachers and the kids, so you can’t become complacent.”

Guest teaching is a skill that Todd has developed through years of practice and does not take the importance of his job lightly. “It’s essential to keep continuity going for students,” Todd said. “If a quarterback gets hurt in the game and a backup has to play, they become the quarterback and they still have to get the same job done. They’re just as valuable to the team.”

Todd and his fellow guest teachers at CPSD are dedicated, committed and relentless team players who tackle any challenge for our students.