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Educator Awards

2022 Recipients

Kaitlyn Waller

Dolores N. Mather Award for Language Arts Teaching

About the Award: This award celebrates elementary teachers from Prescott, Brownell, Elliott and Pyrtle elementary schools who demonstrate excellence in teaching reading, writing, and language arts - particularly when it comes to teaching individual students.

Awarded Amount: $1,500

Nominated By: Self-nominated

Please list all language arts coursework you have completed or will be completing. Literature Methods of the Preschool Teacher in the Fall of 2015 from the University of Nebraska-Kearney Intermediate Literacy in the Spring of 2016 from the University of Nebraska-Kearney Reading in the Content Area in the Spring of 2016 from the University of Nebraska-Kearney Primary Grades Literacy in the Fall of 2016 from the University of Nebraska-Kearney

Please describe how you show enthusiasm for teaching reading, writing, and language arts. I feel that reading and writing is so important to our students and I try to show excitement and engagement every day. I always have conversations with students to gain their prior knowledge on different topics and see what they are passionate about. I also ask a lot of questions when reading a story to make a connection to their lives. When a student can make a connection to their learning, they show excitement in learning as well as creating that memory to call back on. I also show enthusiasm when students are writing. I get them excited to share about their lives and make it special to each student when they are finished with their stories and they get to share the stories with the class. I also keep track of students that are struggling and find time throughout the day to work on missing skills with those students to help bridge the gap.

What innovative techniques do you use to encourage and stimulate interest and learning for your students? Please give specific examples. I feel that I use a lot of techniques when encouraging students in learning. I use hand gestures or actions during our whole group reading time to keep students engaged as well as checking for understanding with the lessons. I also find a question every day to have the students have collaborative conversations with each other as that also helps with social skills and can give other students confidence when answering a question. I use different voices when reading stories to keep students engaged and when the students do a lot of callbacks I will switch up their callbacks (use a kindergarten voice, use a squeaky mouse voice, use a robot voice, use a quiet voice, etc.)

How do you demonstrate respect for students, their parents/guardians, colleagues, and other school and District personnel I absolutely love my job and even on the hard days I know I am where I want and need to be. I find such great joy in working with my colleagues at my school. Elliott is such a special place and we are all a big family that work hard for each other. I love working with my students and seeing the joy and excitement of learning that they show every day. You can tell they love school and love to be at school which in turn makes me excited to be at school. I also have worked really hard to build relationships with other students throughout the building as well as parents of my students. I feel that building relationships with people and communicating with them often is huge! Bottom line is that I love my job so much and I wouldn't want to be anywhere other than here at Elliott!

The Numbers

  • Schools Served

    62

  • Focus Programs Served

    21

  • Students Empowered

    41,766

  • Teachers & Staff Supported

    6,515

  • Funds Raised This Year

    $3.18M

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