Citizen Comment – Deb Stern – May 19, 2016

Good Evening. I am Deb Stern.

I would like to use my 3 minutes tonight to continue teacher celebration this month of May, by thanking a few of the many wonderful teachers my boys have experienced over the past 9 years.

First, I would like to thank the Elementary, Middle and High school administration, and staff that have welcomed me into the schools over the years. They have valued what I have to offer as a parent, and a volunteer.

I would like to thank the librarians, Suzi Ellet, Leeann Childers and Cindy Maxwell, for making the libraries the happening place, not for the internet, or the café, but for the great selection of books. Hampton Cove Middle checked out over 9 thousand books and ebooks this year! They have about 600 students so you can all do the math.

For the elementary years,Teresa Brumlow, Susan Connor, Dixie Seely, Nanette Respess and Susan McCluskey were magical with inclusion classes. They had children ranging from special needs to gifted. They challenged every student, while moving them through the year, as a cohesive unit.

I am thankful for the 6th grade reading team at Hampton Cove Middle. Specifically Vickie Lanza and Debbie Hester. Before the district-wide protected reading list, teachers were able to select what their classes would read. I watched these teachers’ excitement, and creativity, as they made reading fun.

If they found a great piece of advanced literature, they would find ways for grade level, and inclusion classes to also experience the story. For example, they found different editions of A Christmas Carol, like this graphic novel and this DK classic with pictures. The visuals really helped the students understand unfamiliar terms. The book study would be celebrated with an English Tea.

There were so many memorable book celebrations in middle school. I have watched Vickie Lanza mentor younger teachers in working with struggling readers and teach reading standards. She is experienced and knows quick simple ways like the Scholastic magazine to practice reading elements.

A huge thank you to the seasoned teacher that was bold enough to tell me it was ok for my son to repeat pre algebra his 8th grade year since he was not very proficient and passed with a D the first time through in 7th grade. And to Cindy Howard , who taught him that second year, thank you for giving him the knowledge base and confidence to tackle honors math classes through high school. He is now prepared to study computer science next year at UNA.

Thank you to Dustan Carroll at Hampton Cove Middle, for igniting a love for social studies in both my boys. You not only are phenomenal with advanced students, but also inclusion classes. You are great with academics, but also teach our children to be better citizens and critical thinkers.

Thank you Mrs. Dotts, HHS, for being an inclusion English teacher this year. For my son that doesn’t always take constructive feedback well, he never gets upset over the red pen marks or the amount of work. When I ask about it, he just says, “I learn from my mistakes”. If you want to increase writing skills in the district, maybe you can figure out how to clone Mrs. Dotts.

Mrs. Fullerton and Mrs. Cruse. You are so skilled in your teaching. You have prepared and encouraged my son with learning disabilities to enroll into higher level math and science for his 10th grade year.

Thank you Amanda Howard for the most meaningful, and comprehensive IEP I have ever seen. His assessment was so thorough. If you need somebody to train other teachers, she would be excellent.

Thank you Nany Barnes in special education, for always giving me honest and caring advice. You always kept the best interest of my child as a top priority. And thank you Nancy, for loving our kids, and giving so much of yourself, for their benefit.

– Deb Stern