Head of the class

. January 1, 2018.
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In Memory of

Caroline Jacob

Kindergarten, Perry Early Learning Center
Ypsilanti Community Schools
ycschools.us

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Caroline Jacob was a kindergarten teacher at Perry Early Learning Center (ELC) for eight years. Though she passed away in late 2017, she was an amazing teacher who had a love for teaching and learning. Jacob was truly a phenomenal educator whose love for her work and compassion for her students was inspiring to everyone who knew her.

What is the school’s philosophy and focus? Perry ELC believes that all children can learn and the school is committed to providing an innovative environment that maximizes the development of every child through school, family, and community partnerships.

What makes your school great? Perry ELC is a family centered environment where we embrace students, parents, staff, and community in order to educate the whole child. We are leaders in early childhood education and set high expectations to maximize the achievement of every student.

What do you love most about teaching? Jacob had a gift for interactive teaching and an ability to capitalize on teachable moments. She loved to see the light bulb go on in students’ eyes. She was gifted artistically and often created informative visuals such as anchor charts, posters, and drawings to enhance lessons and to make learning visible for her students. Another strength was her ability to individualize instruction in order to meet the needs of every student. As a lifelong learner, she belonged to several professional learning networks through Washtenaw Intermediate School District including the Study of Early Literacy, Assessment Literacy, Social Justice, and Intel Math in order to strengthen and expand teaching practices.

Rhoshawda Miller, a first grade teacher and former colleague of Jacob’s says, “Caroline was a kindhearted person who had a very pleasant manner and was very easy going. She was inspiring to all of the Perry staff and she led us to all be better teachers. Culture proficiency was very important to her and this was something that she strived to make an essential component in the establishment of a positive school climate. She loved teaching, her students, her ‘Perry peeps’ and she loved her owl-themed classroom.”

Christi Elemont

Teacher, fifth and sixth grade math
All Saints Catholic School
allsaintscs.com

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This is my fourteenth year teaching and I still love every minute in the classroom. I currently teach fifth and sixth grade mathematics at All Saints Catholic School, where our mission is to grow leaders in mind, body, and spirit, as well as encourage each student to reach his or her personal potential. This role is special to me because students experience an immense amount of growth, personally and academically, in the years before they become teenagers and I’m privileged to share this special time with them. It is a fantastic spot to be in and continues to be very rewarding.

What makes your school great? The sense of community at All Saints Catholic School is incredible. There is an “all hands on deck” approach to any task or activity where help is needed. From the office staff, to teachers, administration, volunteers, and parents, it is amazing how everyone comes together and will do anything that is asked (and do it well!). I also truly enjoy getting to know the students and families we are blessed with. Seeing past students’ siblings come up through the years, as well as former students who still visit the school, is a beautiful thing to be a part of.

What do you love most about teaching? I absolutely love getting up on stage and performing for my students each day, and sharing my enthusiasm for my subject matter. The ultimate best is seeing the “light bulbs” go off and helping the kids be all they can be as mathematicians and people. I am continuously learning and sharing memories with them that will last a lifetime.

How do your students inspire you? My students’ energy and inquisitiveness keeps me on my toes and inspires me to not only be the best teacher I can be, but the best person as well.

Allison Stupka

Lead Teacher
Ann Arbor Children’s House
annarborchildrenshouse.com

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After working for other Montessori schools for 12 years I embarked on starting my own. Ann Arbor Children’s House is in its seventh year and after years of teaching I still marvel at the wonderful way that Montessori materials and the philosophy of letting children work as long as they like with a material results in a child’s intellectual development.

What makes your school great? I love teaching preschool because children are just discovering the world and their ability to understand it. I have taught Montessori preschool for fifteen years now. Ann Arbor Children’s House is a traditional Montessori school that has a full complement of Montessori materials. We respect and are guided by Dr Maria Montessori’s philosophy of “following the child.” We give children hands-on authentic experiences of the world and a “prepared” environment that becomes their second home.

What do you love most about teaching? I love teaching because I feel lucky to be a part of a young child’s education. I get to see a child’s discovery of comprehending the world. The other day a four year old second year child remarked to me that she could gather four objects because she “could count them.”

How do your students inspire you? My students inspire me because they make remember that the world around us is an amazing place and what we humans can do is limitless.

Nancy Martin

Teacher, Butterfly Room
Early Learning Center
elcpreschool.com

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Educating young children is my passion. After receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education I immediately began my teaching career and have taught children in a mixed age class from 2 1/2 -5, a Kindergarten class, an in-home licensed pre-school/daycare, and for the last 20 years, I have taught at the Early Learning Center working with 4-5 year olds. At The Early Learning Center (ELC), we focus on the development of the total child; emotional, social and academic/ intellectual growth through play.

What makes your school great? Our school has been around since 1975. We strive to educate and nurture each and every child. The ELC has always been outstanding in their ability to foster children in their development of empathy, respect and acceptance of others. We teach kindness and cooperation, incorporate team-building activities and social skills in an age appropriate play-based manner. During my 20 years at ELC, the families that have shared their children with me have become treasured friends. Our school is a shining example of what it means for a community to come together. It truly “takes a village” and we work closely with family members to foster growth in their children so that they will have a successful and confident future.

What do you love most about teaching? The best part of teaching is watching children experience an “aha” moment when you know that they truly understand what you are teaching them by the way their face lights up. After so many years of teaching, I am refreshed every year with each new group of students; their challenges and their successes.

How do your students inspire you? I am inspired by a child’s sense of wonder and enthusiasm for learning something new. I am also inspired by those who struggle with learning, both socially and academically, to strive to find new and creative ways to help them be successful in everything they do.

Saki Rahman

Co-head Teacher, combined first
and second grade class
Daycroft Montessori
daycroft.org

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I have been teaching at Daycroft Montessori School for twenty seven years and teach math, culture and science to first and second grade students.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching students at the lower elementary level. They are not only endearing at the age of six and seven, but able to share goodwill easily. The enthusiasm with which children listen, learn and absorb is infectious. It draws me into their world. It’s also touching to witness how caring and protective the older peers often become toward the younger ones, in this combined classroom structure; be it helping them with shoe laces, work, or play. To follow this relatively long journey, as they grow and mature, step by step, until they exit toward third grade, is a delightful and genuinely emotional experience. I think of it as a gift to cherish.

What makes your school great? Daycroft deserves its reputation as an enduring, respectful, diverse and productive institution. It has always held a charm of its own, borne from years of acceptance of that part of Montessori philosophy which believes in nurturing the whole child, while emphasizing commitment to academic excellence. So much of Daycroft’s achievement is due to the deep involvement of devoted parents, a dedicated faculty and a highly supportive administration. I am proud to be part of my school’s heritage.

What do you love most about teaching? I love teaching because it helps me as much as it helps the children to become life-long learners and we both can make a difference in each other’s lives. I never underestimate the child’s own depth of knowledge on various subjects. They never cease to amaze me! I feel the joy that all teachers feel when they share the happiness of a child for whatever reason: overcoming a challenge, completing a normal or daunting task, creating or sharing something of value. I feel equally good when I listen to their problems and resolve them or comfort them adequately. The passion I feel in wanting to bring out the best and striving to help a child become who he or she is meant to be, makes teaching a truly meaningful experience for me.

How do your students inspire you? At any given moment in the classroom, their vibrant personalities are the force behind my energy and motivation to help both of us succeed. Working with children makes me feel humble. Their natural sense of kindness and compassion is a constant reminder of who they really are. Simple praise from me, as a teacher, can reap manifold acts of kindness from a child, and reminds me of how mindful I need to be to grant deserved praise to each child. They are the beacon of hope and peace in this world. We need to do whatever it takes to uphold their faith in such universal values.