Teacher Impact Stories
Changing the World, Student by Student
Teachers make a world of difference, fostering curiosity, nurturing empathy, advancing facts and evidence, setting high expectations, opening minds, and encouraging students to believe in themselves and their ability to shape their futures.
We celebrate their impact and thank them for their extraordinary compassion and dedication.
I strive to take on professional development that’s going to help me understand the latest best practices and brain-based research.
A third-grade teacher at the Vergennes Union Elementary School in Vermont is bringing the structured approach of Orton-Gillingham into her teaching.
How has training in the Orton-Gillingham Approach affected your teaching?
Orton-Gillingham training has made my teaching more purposeful and explicit overall. It allows me to give students feedback right then and there so that they’re teaching their brains the right way, and that’s so important for my kiddos to move forward with their learning.
Why is professional learning important to you?
I strive to take on professional development that will help me understand the latest best practices and brain-based research so I can bring that learning back into my classroom and give my students opportunities that will allow them to be as successful as they can be.
We’ve always been committed to academic rigor. Literacy, reading, and writing are priorities for us.
Baird School Educators
The Howard Center’s Baird School—a K–8 school for students who need therapeutic intervention and intensive academic support—began working with the Stern Center to launch a schoolwide Lead to Read literacy initiative. It’s making a significant, positive shift in their school. The Baird School team pictured here includes Kim McNamara, Sandra Limoge, and Kate Pollen.
What has it been like to launch a schoolwide literacy initiative?
Kim: Our teachers started with the MindPlay Comprehensive Reading Course and monthly coaching sessions. The content was so good and comprehensive. The ongoing coaching has been amazing, encouraging growth and accountability for everyone.
How does the Baird School help students thrive?
Sandra: Many of our students come to us having significant gaps in their skills or being so far below grade level because of their social, emotional, and behavioral needs. We are highly committed to closing gaps and having our students step away from us with more academic skills. For many of our students, school has been a painful experience. We strive to make it a very positive experience and to get them excited about learning again.
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