Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Great Instruction - Great Teachers!

     What makes Curtis such a great place?  I say it is the teachers!  Curtis is blessed with the most amazing teachers.   Teachers at Curtis continue to search for ways to incorporate high-yield strategies in order to increase learning and improve achievement. Great instruction comes from great teachers which leads to great learning. reprinted an article from 2007 from the Center for Public Education that stated, "The most significant gains in student achievement will likely be realized when students receive instruction from good teachers over consecutive years."   Robert Marzano also states, "Effective teaching is essential to student achievement. "  I believe this with all my heart.   It does not matter how many students are in a classroom.  If the instructionis good, there will  the potential for increase in academic achievement.  With so little time to teach and so many standards to teach, the first teach is crucial to making a positive impact on student achievement and closing achievement gaps.

     One of the reason's Curtis is a great place to learn is because of our 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year!  Katie Pitman, a fifth grade ELA/SS teacher, provides rigorous, challenging lessons in her class.  Her use of high-yield strategies elevates students' thinking and ability to problem solve.  Katie, like many of our Curtis teachers, uses strategies she learned from Lead4ward.  Students collaborate and use these high-yield strategies to not only complete assignments but to also think about their learning.  She uses  strategies like 1 Minute Paper, 3-2-1 Summary, Card Sort, Fact or Fib, and so much more.  In this video you will see her use a strategy called, "Commit and Toss" or "Question Toss:"  Question Toss  Katie is also transforming her classroom with PBL!  Project Based Learning is a great way to engage students with opportunities to become true problem solvers.  Her students will soon go paperless using technology in more authentic ways!
Katie is not a great teacher just because she  uses great instructional strategies to enhance the "First Teach."  She is compassionate and genuinely cares about her students.  She will do whatever it takes to help a student to be successful.  Katie is an awesome representative of Curtis Elementary, and our students are so blessed to have such a super star as a teacher.

    We have so many amazing educators here at Curtis.  Our September teacher of the month this year was Misty Crowley!  Misty teaches 2nd grade at Curtis.  She has a heart for kids at Curtis.  Misty looks for ways to lead her team in order to promote success for all kids.  Misty not only connects with her students, but she also connects with parents searching for ways to partner with them.  It is all about relationships with Misty Crowley.
  In October/November, our Teacher of the Month was Mendi Mahan.  Mendi teaches science in 5th grade and is a little bit of a "MAD" scientist according to her students.  She makes science come to life.  Kids have a lot of fun conducting experiments and investigating theories.   There are high expectations in Mrs. Mahan's classroom which is vital to student success.  Students know exactly what is expected and meet those expectations in science.

     Our latest Teacher of the Month is Vicki Zell!  Vicki is an amazing part of our Curtis Team.  She teaches our FLS students.  These students all have special needs.  Vicki is a master at using the Fundamental Five strategies in her class.  She frames every lesson with her students.  Vicki also helps
her students meet their individual goals each day.  She has devoted  22 years to the teaching profession.  Vicki also has a strong connection with each and every one of her students' families.

     With good instruction being one of the most important components to student achievement, you can see that we are in good hands at Curtis Elementary.  Our teachers strive to use high- yield instructional strategies instead of "Sit and Git" worksheets!  I am blessed to be able to walk through this building day after day and see the great instruction in classrooms.  Just like the name of this blog -  Passion Lives Here at Curtis Elementary!