The best teachers in the Yampa Valley

College students stroll towards the doorway of Strawberry Park Elementary College in Steamboat Springs on August 23, 2022.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & In the present day

Steamboat lecturers have been by way of loads within the final two years.that they had to determine how
Most learners train on the fly from a pc display, however many adults nonetheless do not get it.
The deal with of the mute button.

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They tried to keep away from the unfold of COVID-19 within the classroom, making a neighborhood that college students so missed after they have been caught at residence. They’ve debated masks, college employees shortages and the price of steep inflation within the nation.

Regardless of the challenges, Steamboat Springs College District ranked within the high 10 within the state final yr. District administrations and college boards attribute a lot of their success to educators.

This additionally meant that there have been many glorious selections as voters thought-about who was the perfect college trainer within the 2022 Boat of the Boat competitors. Regardless of having dozens of nice educators, the highest three voters are all from Strawberry Park Elementary College.

“I do know our lecturers are nice and I groan about them on a regular basis but it surely’s nice they get them
Strawberry Park Principal Elon Hobart mentioned: “I see what they do day by day and am at all times in awe.”

Carrie Avalos – 4th Grade

Carrie Avalos moved from Texas to Steamboat Springs at age 18 to attend Colorado Mountain School. She, like many, by no means thought it was her life.

Her father took her to Steamboat a number of years in the past. Avalos finds the snow on steamboats fascinating and welcoming to the folks.

Carrie Avalos, a 4th grade trainer at Strawberry Park Elementary College, sits subsequent to the electrical fire the place her college students meet every day.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & In the present day

“I fell in love with this metropolis. I met my husband…and created a household,” mentioned Avalos. “I like it.”

5 years in the past, she acquired a proposal to show a fifth grade pupil at Steamboat Springs College District. On the finish of the yr, she acquired a proposal to remain. Her first yr as a 4th grade trainer was her 2019.

“You are looking for methods to reconcile life and schooling,” Abalos mentioned of her first yr of schooling. “Then the pandemic hits, it is like a whirlwind, and it’s a must to put your complete life, your complete thought, in a classroom surroundings.”

The transition was powerful. It was all on-line, not hybrid studying. She by no means noticed these college students once more that college yr.

“The primary yr, I really feel like my relationship with my children did not work out,” she mentioned.

Abalos says he feels that relationships with college students, dad and mom and different lecturers are crucial to schooling. College students want somebody who will stand by them and take heed to them.

The pandemic has modified her educating model.

“It is actually opened my eyes to have the ability to perceive a little bit extra the place the scholars are coming from,” mentioned Avalos.

Again within the classroom, Abalos’ favourite time is when college students collect across the classroom’s electrical fire. “An open house for kids to share.”

They reply prompts equivalent to what they assume are good associates, share their emotions that individual morning, and get the possibility to study extra about their classmates. He mentioned he would make an excellent trainer.

“I would like folks to really feel related to me, to really feel open, to grasp that this can be a classroom neighborhood and that we’re all serving to one another,” Avalos mentioned. “I believe that is what makes me an excellent trainer as a result of I hear.”

Heidi Hamrick – 4th grade

Heidi Hamrick has taught overseas and within the previous mountains of West Virginia, however Steamboat Springs has at all times been on her household’s want listing.

“After I visited right here, I keep in mind pondering that this can be a family-centered, child-centered neighborhood,” Hamrick mentioned.

Instructor Heidi Hamrick (left), pupil Eden Cobb, and principal Elon Haubert pose for {a photograph} on the primary day of college at Strawberry Park Elementary College, Tuesday, August 23, 2022.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & In the present day

She has been educating 4th grade at Steamboat for six years. This grade, she says, is the “candy spot” the place college students are simply starting to find the world. That world has gotten loads smaller in her 2020, which Hamric described as “like smashing your face headfirst right into a wall.”

“Youngsters like to study in social teams, assume in companions and groups, and push one another,” she mentioned. “We have misplaced the optimistic social experiences kids have with one another.”

Since returning to the classroom, Hamric mentioned the main focus is on a optimistic studying expertise. She talks about being an energetic listener and listening together with her complete physique.

Her favourite exercise with college students is a service studying undertaking that college students do in 4th grade. They held a cross-country ski asson to boost funds to supply microfinance to tasks all over the world. Loans have helped construct bathrooms in Africa, artists and fishermen’s cooperatives within the Philippines.

They study objective setting, persuasive writing, and incorporate state financial requirements into tasks. It additionally reminds us how massive the world actually is.

“The neighborhood right here is so tolerant that the eyes of the fourth-graders are open to the world,” Hamrick mentioned. “It is a undertaking with an actual goal.

Mark Simmons – First Grade

Mark Simmons is slowly treading the trail of educating seniors in highschool. He has been educating a 4 yr previous for 4 years, a 5 yr previous for five years and now educating a 6 yr previous for 3 years.

“I am slowly graduating. It’ll take perpetually,” Simmons mentioned with fun.

Mark Simmons, a first-grade trainer at Strawberry Park Elementary, stands in entrance of the category calendar. In the course of the pandemic, Simmons positioned calendar-like classroom symbols round him and enlisted his canine as a classroom helper to ease the transition for college students.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & In the present day

Simmons likes educating first grade.

“The true motivation to be excited to see their associates and discuss in regards to the weekend means all they must gulp at you,” Simmons mentioned.

The transition to digital studying was daunting for first graders who had by no means used Chromebooks earlier than they turned a part of the classroom. His dad and mom have been all searching for one thing totally different for him. Some needed their children entertained all day, whereas others struggled to get their college students logged on within the morning.

He turned his small condo right into a classroom and employed a canine as a particular helper in his class. He performed a visible sport that doubled as a math lesson, hanging acquainted symbols from the again classroom to make the scholars really feel extra snug.

Again within the classroom, Simmons highlights actions that college students can do with their fingers. There are turtles within the classroom and actions are carried out with markers on the whiteboard. It is a medium that college students are extra excited to make use of.

“Extra paper, pencils, tremendous motor abilities, reducing, gluing, holding pencils,” Simmons mentioned.

Simmons mentioned his favourite actions to do with the scholars have been merely having enjoyable, singing songs, and taking part in classroom video games like dizzying hopscotch. He mentioned he’s making an attempt to construct relationships with and sometimes feels strain to be an excellent trainer.

Constructing relationships with dad and mom can also be necessary. Simmons works to supply dad and mom with the fragmented tales that first graders typically take residence. These relationships have benefited him.

“There is a nationwide dialogue that lecturers don’t get any respect,” Simmons mentioned. “I’ve by no means been handled so nicely in my life.”

This was initially revealed in Better of the Boat Journal 2022.

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