Catherine Gilmore is a Varying Exceptionalities teacher for second and fifth grade at Gibsonton Elementary School.
We’re more than just an Achievement School, our students are achievements.
I’ve been a teacher in Hillsborough County for 10 years, and for the last two I have been a Varying Exceptionalities teacher, working with second and fifth graders. How could someone not love the kids? I think that’s what makes everybody come back.
My students are really a part of my heart. Once you get invested in the neighborhood and the community, you start to realize that the potential to help these students almost supersedes any other opportunity you have within this district.
Our goals are always measurable. We have regular data chats with our students and each student on this campus knows where they’re at, what they’re working on, and how they are going to attack the problem and be successful. It’s not just a matter of, “I want to reach this level.” It’s questioning, “What strategies are you going to use? What have you already done? How far have you already come?”
When you look at the kids and you see their excitement in the lesson and you see how they want to share their achievements, you can’t help but to dig deeper and be the best teacher you can be for them. Your impact isn’t just in a lesson, it’s in the relationships you build with your students.
Our biggest challenge is getting kids in the seats, and our attendance is one thing that we’re working on. We’re working on becoming a Community School, because it’s not just about what we do in the four walls of our classroom and within the gates of the campus. It’s about reaching out to the community – and the only way we are going to succeed is if we work together.
This is a school full of opportunities, not limitations. You must be willing to take that moment to say, “I’m brave enough to step up to the bat and be a team player, because we are a team here.” Each of our teachers embraces their opportunity to let every individual student shine. They are our rising stars.
I don’t understand why anyone would not come to an Achievement School. You’re missing out. We all come together for a united front.
This is Why #WeAchieveTogether.
Do you know a dedicated Achievement Schools leader, teacher, staff or community member who you would like to see featured in Why #WeAchieveTogether? To nominate someone, contact Kendra Oestreich, Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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