Thank you to everyone who recommended books!
I will continue to add books to this list over time.
Keep an eye out for updates at:
If I can assist you in any way, please reach out.
Dr. Bryan Pearlman, EdD, LMSW – Keynote Speaker, Author, Educator & Therapist
30 Tips For Supporting Students With Challenging Behaviors
1. Stay Calm
2. Work as a Team to Problem Solve and Create a Safety Plan (You are Not Alone!)
3. Be Proactive
4. Lead with Empathy
5. Document and Keep Good Data (Before, During and After)
6. Do Not Take Things Personally (It is Not About You)
7. Focus on and Reinforce the Positives
8. Create a Safe and Quiet Space in the Room and Also a Buddy Classroom
9. Teach Social Skills
10. Identify the Captain of the Team (Critical Friend) to Build Relationships, Daily Check-in/out
11. Use Fewer Words
12. Include Stakeholders and Students in Creation of a Plan
13. Incorporate Daily Movement and Mindfulness Activities
14. Practice Self-care
15. Out of the Box Thinking
16. Keep Adding Tools to Your Toolbox
17. Monitor Progress and Modify Plan as Needed
18. Clear and Concise Rules and Expectations
19. Plan for Regular and Frequent Breaks
20. Plan for Transitions and Changes in Schedules/Routines
21. Focus on Behavior Not the Student
22. Listen and Look for Triggers
23. Help Identify and Implement Replacement Behaviors
24. Build the Bank Account with Student and Family with Positive Interactions
25. Involve Therapy and Mental Health Resources
26. Build Hope for the Future
27. Give More Responsibility than What is Deserved
28. Clean Slate for You and the Student Each Day
29. Provide Opportunities for Student to Repair Any Damage (Restorative Approach)
30. Celebrate Successes
Pearlman, B. (2019). Whatever it takes for all students to succeed in school and life. St. Louis: Amazon/KDP.
Mark exhibited many challenging and defiant behaviors throughout the school day. In addition, he would shut-down and not respond at all during some school transitions. This was particularly challenging when the class needed to leave for lunch and recess. Mark would just lay down, go completely limp, and completely tune out. The teacher, counselor and administrator could not get him to move. They all exhausted just about every tool and strategy.
The principal believed that this might be a behavior tied to early trauma that he experienced as a baby in a Russian orphanage. While researching more information about this, the principal discovered a condition called RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). It just so happened that a national expert on RAD was coming through town for a training. The principal bought a ticket.
After the training ended, the principal offered to help the presenter with her boxes out to her car. The principal asked if he could “pick her brain” about a student. After telling the expert all about Mark, his behaviors, and everything that had been attempted, the presenter said that she had a solution. The principal took out a pen to write down the expert’s advice. The expert told the principal to approach the student, look him in the eyes, and ask him a very important question. As the expert was sharing this wisdom, the principal was becoming more and more hopeful about a solution to implement the next day. The expert went on to tell him the important question, “ask Mark if he would buy a pickle for a nickel”. The principal looked at the expert as if she was crazy. He asked the expert, “that is the best advice that you have?” The principal was deflated, exhausted and upset by this answer. He was equally upset that it was 9 pm and that he still had an hour ride to get home.
On his ride home, the principal shared the expert’s wisdom with his wife. His wife laughed at this. When the principal arrived home, there was a jar of pickles on his nightstand with a note that read “take a pickle and leave a nickel”.
The next day the principal brought the jar of pickles with him to work. He figured that he could at least get a good laugh with his staff about the “great” advice that he received from the so-called expert.
Just like clockwork, the principal received a “911 call” on his walkie-talkie to room 15. When he arrived, there was Mark laying on the floor completely tuned out. The principal tried everything that he could think of and there was no response from Mark. Finally, he remembered the advice from the expert. The principal figured that it couldn’t hurt anything. He approached Mark, tried to make eye contact, and asked him, “would you buy a pickle for a nickel?” Mark sat up quickly and said, “what the (expletive) did you just ask me?” The principal was shocked that Mark responded and didn’t know quite how to respond (he also ignored the expletive). Mark then said, “that is the dumbest question I have ever heard. How can I possibly answer that? What kind of pickle are we talking about? If it is a big spicy pickle that is in the jar on a 7-11 counter, yeah, I’d buy that for a nickel. But if it is a really small one, no way, that’s a rip-off!”
The principal said nothing and just looked at Mark. Mark went on, “how did you know I like pickles? Now that you brought it up, I’d really like one. Where can I get a pickle?”. The principal told Mark that he knew exactly where there were some pickles. They went to the office and Mark ate several pickles like he had never eaten before.
While Mark was chomping away on the pickles, the principal started a conversation about why it was so important for Mark to communicate with and respond to staff and to let us know what is going on. In addition, why it is so unsafe to stay in a room by himself. Mark nodded along while wiping off pickle juice from his chin and neck. Mark shared that sometimes he just gets really upset and frustrated and that he just shuts down. They discussed some solutions and it was agreed that he could ask to go get a pickle, a drink of water, or just a short walking break when he was beginning to get upset or frustrated. Mark agreed to try this plan.
This pickle intervention worked really well. From time-to-time, the intervention had to be tweaked a bit, however, Mark was safe and his behaviors began to improve.
Sometimes the craziest suggestions and most outrageous ideas actually work!
The principal reached back out to the expert to thank her for the pickle intervention suggestion. He also apologized for his lack of enthusiasm that he exhibited when the pickle intervention was first suggested.
When I was a building principal, Mikey was a student that exhibited some of the most extreme behaviors for a young student. He had already received three superintendent level suspensions before he completed third grade. Mikey had more days out of school than in school. The behaviors included many physical altercations with students and staff, destruction of school property, consistent and significant disruption of the classroom (and school), and eloping from campus.
As principal, I really should have been listed as the teacher of record for Mikey, since he was in my office every day for several hours. Mikey was off-task pretty close to 100% of the time. Nothing in my toolbox worked well to reduce the negative behaviors.
A colleague suggested that we give him a “special job” in the building with more responsibility than his behaviors had warranted. At first I thought this was a very bad idea. But what choice did I have? Nothing else had worked. Worst case scenario, this too wouldn’t work and I would be in no worse place than where I had started. I asked for his recommendation. He suggested that we put him in charge of announcing the buses at arrival and dismissal. I told him that this sounded like a really bad idea. The thought of giving Mikey a walkie-talkie seemed to be a recipe for disaster. Mikey used words that even made me blush. Each classroom had a walkie in it too. I could just picture the damage control that I would have to do after Mikey used a four-letter word for the whole world to hear. My colleague reminded me about what I had to lose and the fact that nothing else had worked.
I went digging in our school’s basement and found an old bright orange crossing guard vest (circa 1985), a really beat up “Lil Captain” badge, and a Radio Shack walkie-talkie. On Friday afternoon, I called Mikey down to my office. I asked if he would be interested in a job at school. He asked for some information about the job. I told him that we really needed help with buses arriving and leaving each day since Dr. P was really bad at it. Mikey agreed that Dr. P was really bad at it and he said that he would like that job. I gave him his uniform and asked that he report on Monday morning.
Very early on Monday morning, I heard a mini-van door slam closed. I looked out the window and recognized the mini-van and the student walking up our sidewalk. Mikey walked straight into my office with a dry cleaning bag over his shoulder. He sat the bag down and pulled out a perfectly cleaned and ironed crossing guard vest with a very shiny badge on it. Mikey put these items on and saluted me. He said, “Captain Mikey reporting for duty sir”. He then took out the walkie-talkie. It had a “Captain Mikey” label on it (his mom must have used a home labeling machine to make this for him). I looked carefully at him and realized that he was completely serious, completely excited about his new job, and had a big smile across his face (I had never seen him smile before).
Mikey was very successful with calling buses as they arrived. In addition, our dismissal process ran like clockwork with Captain Mikey on the job. I have to admit that he was much better at this job than I was. Captain Mikey expanded his job description to help younger kids as they crossed in front of the buses. He even became the king of giving fellow students high fives and morning greetings. Mikey’s behaviors reduced by at least 95% almost immediately.
Even students with the most challenging behaviors have the potential for turning it around. Mikey rose to the occasion, felt needed, experienced success for perhaps the first time, and his behaviors improved significantly.
July 9, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dr. Bryan Pearlman
FIVE EDUCATORS NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED AS AN MVP!
(St. Louis, Missouri): Five educators were recently recognized as a Most Valuable Person In The Life Of A Student. The award recipients were nominated by a peer and voted on by a national panel of educators.
This year’s honorees are:
Reggie Donahue, Resource Support Specialist in Downey, California
Katie Fox, Teacher in Anchorage, Alaska
Phoebe Robinson, Principal in Far Rockaway, New York
Nancy Schneider, Professor at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO
Sara Voss, 6th Grade STEM Teacher in Sparks, Nevada
The MVP award was developed as a way to recognize outstanding educators across the country. The award is sponsored annually by Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC, an organization that provides educator professional development on trauma, behaviors, and student achievement.
Dr. Bryan Pearlman, the organization’s founder, shares his reasons for creating the award, “Educators make a big difference in the lives of their students. They go way above and beyond the job to ensure that their students are successful, safe, happy, and prepared for the real world. This is becoming more challenging as the number of students that come to school with mental health concerns and a trauma history has increased significantly in the past few years. In so many cases, educators can help positively impact a student’s life trajectory and even save a life. I believe it is very important to recognize skilled and caring educators for the amazing work that they do each and every day.”
More information about the award is available at: https://www.mostvaluablepd.com/nominate-an-mvp/.
Read The Nominations Below & Then Vote By Going To: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/L26LTWN
Deadline For Voting Is May 1, 2019
Arielle Cernes – Counselor – Brooklyn, NY – All of our students have been diagnosed with Language based learning disabilities and experienced school failure. Often they also have issues at home and Arielle is the person they cone to trust to have their backs when needed and to make them own their part as necessary. This is so needed to help our students grow into adults who can be productive and own their accomplishments as well as dust themselves off from set-backs and persevere.
Regina “Reggie” Donahue – Resource Support Specialist – Downey, CA – Reggie Donahue is The Most Valuable Person in the life of a student because she creates change in each of the students she touches. She starts by making sure that they feel safe and loved. Reggie finds the strength in each of her students and focuses on what they can do, in order to strengthen the areas in which they struggle the most. She celebrates the small successes in each of her students, which in turn helps them feel good about themselves and makes them want to strive to do more. Reggie makes sure to reach out and connect with parents so the students know that they are supported all around, because Reggie knows that it is a team effort and it takes a village! Reggie Donahue is THE most amazing woman I have met and have worked with, who after 30-years, still strives to capture the heart of the students, teaches AND loves the WHOLE child. She works with students who struggle the most and need the most support, always making sure that their spirits are high and their confidence remains in tact. Parents do not ever want to leave Gallatin, the school she has worked at for over 30-years, because of Reggie Donahue’s love and support. She has taught generations of families who return to her and still remember and acknowledge her academic support as invaluable and her unconditional love was just as important in their success, as it is for their own children. This year, Mrs. Reggie Donahue will be retiring after 30+ years of teaching. There is no better way to acknowledge the hard work of such a unique and dedicated individual as Reggie Donahue, than by acknowledging her hard work and dedication as being an MVP in the life of a student. Thank you so much for considering my nomination.
Katherine Fox – Teacher – Anchorage, AK – Katie Fox is the most driven teacher that I have ever witnessed. Katie comes into work with a smile on her face and cheer in her heart even though at some point today, one of these students will swear at her. In an environment where students have past trauma, disabilities, and use staff as punching bags, Katie Fox thrives. Katie loves her students and makes every day fun and engaging for each one of them. Though these students have problems in life, Katie Fox always seems to be the solution. The amount of patience and love that this woman exudes baffles me and makes me thankful to get the privilege to call her a coworker and friend.
LeeAnn Jones – English Teacher – Farmington, MN – LeeAnn Jones is amazing educator who puts students at the front of all of her work. She builds relationships with her students so they achieve exemplar results. Not only does she nurture student relationships, but she also has extremely high expectations for her students. Additionally, she has a powerful way of connecting the content to students lives, she makes learning relevant. Most importantly, Mrs. Jones incorporates all students’ cultural backgrounds into the learning and teaching process.
Ida Mcintyre – Math Teacher – Little Rock, AR – Ida is a very passionate teacher!!! She really cares about the students and the success of the students. We work with At-Promise students ages 15-21, and she has had her car spit on, scratched up ($1600 worth in damages in which she came out of pocket to have repaired), and been called names that you wouldn’t even think of. With all that being said, the next day she comes to work still with a smile on her face and never ever mistreating the students who disrespected her. She still speaks to them and greet them as normal, along with teaching them Math skills they need to complete their Math credits. If she notices students are not being successful, she comes up with strategies and incentives to help them get on track and focused. The way our school is set-up she teaches all subjects of Math on different levels. She has been a very valuable teacher to our school. We received a Math award on behalf of our students’ rising test scores and her along with our other Math teacher Lisa Romero are to Thank! I look up to her and I am so grateful to have worked with her!!!
Jenny Perfetti – Para-Professional – Cottage Grove, MN – Jenny is an incredible asset to our school. She is so hard working she never backs down to a challenge. She is always there with a positive attitude no job is too big or too difficult. She has a can do attitude and always with a smile. She works with very high needs students, she is professional, respectful, loving, caring, helpful, and kind. She has a great attitude even during the most difficult days. She fills in where needed and is always present and ready to take on a challenge. She has a great way of turning the most difficult times into successes. We are very lucky to have her here. There is always a high burn out rate and turn over in this Para profession but Jenny is always dependable and pleasant to work with. I can tell she really loves what she does and it shows with how she works with the staff and students.
Karen Pope – English Teacher – Montgomery, TX – Ms. Pope makes every student in her class feel special, everyday. She has a classroom full of students for tutorials after school because her students feel better when they are around her. She always has time for her students, both current and former. She is an amazing person, teacher, and mentor for our students.
Vicki Price – Life Skills Teacher – Anchorage, AK – She is considerate, concerned and values each student as if her own. She works with students that no one seems to want to work with. She gives them skills while learning from them. She wants them happy no matter what they will do once graduated. She is an angel, a saint, a caring person.
Maxine Robinson – Head Teacher – Somerset, NJ – Maxine Robinson is a valuable person in the life a student because she consistently attends school to provide quality instruction to all students. She goes above and beyond to ensure that any student in her class is educational equipped to learn the content of mathematics. On any given day, you can attend Maxine’s class and view students engaged via small group instruction, one to one dialogue with other students, using technology, completing mathematical projects and having students facilitate learning. She attends many community events to support students. Maxine is very resourceful to students and often involves parents and guardians in school life to promote the importance of school and community relations.
Phoebe Robinson – Principal – Far Rockaway, NY – Phoebe Robinson is the Principal of PS 253Q located in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York. She began her tenure in September of 2013 and has emphasized a focus on the social – emotional stability of the children of Far Rockaway. She has worked tirelessly to educate her staff on the correlation between social-emotional balance and academic success. You can not have the latter without the former. She began by introducing a school-wide positive behavior system that reminds students that each of them is in the driver’s seat with a destination of success that is attainable as long as they used their gps, strategies. Mrs. Robinson encourages all students to ROAR towards Success with Respect, Optimism, Achievement, and Resilience. With a change in the mind-set of the school community, she has worked to create a trusting and supportive learning environment that works to educate the “whole child”. She makes it a point to model her expectations for staff by being an emotional support for the students. It’s important to her to ensure students know their value and potential. All of this makes her The Most Valuable Person in The Life of a Student.
Nancy Schneider – Assistant Professor – St. Charles, MO – Dr. Schneider is a dedicated professional who provides ongoing support to students in the School of Education. During this past fall semester, she went above and beyond expectations to provide support to one of our candidates during her student teaching experience. The candidate considered giving up on the experience, which would have prevented her from attaining her goal of becoming a teacher. Dr. Schneider interacted extensively with the candidate and her cooperating teacher. Throughout the semester, Dr. Schneider provided an extraordinary level of support, which included constructive feedback as well as extensive encouragement and moral support. Dr. Schneider went the extra mile and brought the teacher candidate into her home to be celebrated by her family which gave the teacher candidate a boost with her self-esteem. The efforts of Dr. Schneider, as well as the care she demonstrated, enabled the candidate to have a successful student teaching experience, obtain her degree, earn her teacher certification and instill in her the confidence to enter the teaching profession. Dr. Schneider also coordinates volunteers for a comprehensive three-day trauma-informed conference that is designed for educators, school administrators, school personnel, mental health professionals, and parents. This conference helped Lindenwood University professors develop understanding, knowledge, and tools needed to successfully create a trauma-informed learning environment, whether it is in a single classroom, a whole school, or an entire district. Dr. Schneider daily fulfills Jason Shipp’s quote, “Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story!”
Catherine Staszewski – Counselor – West Lafayette, IN – Catherine came to Indiana when her husband’s job took them away from New York. Because she so wanted to impact students while settling into a new community, she took a job as my classroom assistant. I am blind. Catherine stepped into this role as my helper with such joy, commitment, and enthusiasm. For the first time in my teaching career, I had a teaching partner instead of someone simply entering grades and passing out papers for me. Six years later when a guidance counselor position came open, Catherine applied for it as that was her training. She was immediately given the position and quickly became the lead counselor in a school whose population is now nearly 2000. She serves as a leader, a thinker, and a voice of reason for students, staff, and administrators who all recognize her skill. Catherine is an MVP for many. Specifically, she goes out of her way to assist students new to the country to settle in well. Last year, she supported a young lady visiting from Brasil to become a beloved and cherished member of the 2018 graduating class. This year, a young man from Korea is similarly adapting well because of her support. Catherine oversees PSAT testing, freshman orientation, and parent information nights. She has mentored new counselors and college interns. Her level-headed, calm demeanor makes her a natural choice for such support. Students know that Catherine will listen, support, encourage, and connect them with resources as they have need. She is a sounding board for staff who need to understand student struggles better and an advocate for fair and compassionate treatment of young people. There is no one in the building who is more trusted than Catherine for the persistent care of young people and their wellbeing. She is amazing!
Donna Valdez – Physical Therapist – Cottage Grove, MN – Donna is an incredible asset to our school and school district. Donna is the school district’s Physical Therapist she juggles 6 different schools. She handles and works with dozens of special education students of a variety of ages, high and moderate needs. She spends everyday traveling from building to building, hauling and obtaining, modifying equipment, attending several meetings, spending countless hours filling out forms and paper work, as well as working with the students. She is so hard working she never backs down from a challenge. She is always there with a positive attitude, no job is too big or too difficult. She has a “can do” attitude and always with a smile. She is very thorough and organized she takes extra time to make sure that everyone is completely taken care of. No stone is unturned. She works with a variety of high and moderate needs students, she is professional, respectful, loving, caring, helpful, and kind. She has a great attitude even during the most difficult days. She fills in where needed and is always present and ready to take on a challenge. She has a great way of turning the most difficult times into successes. She brings a tremendous amount of energy and knowledge of how we can ensure success with every situation and student. We are very lucky to have her here. Donna is always dependable and pleasant to work with. I can tell she really loves what she does and it shows with how she works with the staff and students . Donna is often times found down on her knees working with the students. She really does a lot of heavy lifting. She wears many hats, She is pulled in many directions, she is invaluable. We need more people like Donna. Unfortunately the PT positions are cut more and more each year and therefore are asked to cover more ground and are spread more thin to cover more and more students each year. Donna is a vital and critical component to our success with the students and the special education program. Please help me say thank you and honor her with this MVP award.
Sarah Voss – 6th Grade STEM – Sparks, NV – Sarah Voss is the most passionate educator I have ever met, and I have the pleasure of being her teaching partner. Each day, I watch Miss Voss go the extra mile for our students, both academically and socially. She is at school every morning at 6:00 AM, preparing valuable lessons, differentiating materials, and determining which of our students we need to have motivational talks with before learning begins. Miss Voss knows that ALL students can learn, so she spends time developing positive relationships with every student she teaches, and she actively supports their emotional well-being through SEL activities. As a reflective teacher, she is continuously improving upon her practices and engaging her students in reflective activities that will assist them in their academic growth. Providing feedback to her students is a priority of Miss Voss, as she understands that students need to know what they are doing well, what they need more support in, and how they can improve their skills, in order for them to successfully grow. She studies student data and has them set long and short-term goals, and most of her students are intrinsically motivated through her inspiring teaching style. Her students KNOW that she will be there when they need her, and they trust in her advice and support. Not only is Miss Voss an exceptional teacher, but she is also our 5th and 6th grade soccer team coach. She understands that providing our students with extracurricular activities, not only allows them to be involved in something they enjoy, but also supports academics. Her belief is that they must be student-athletes, demonstrating academic responsibility in order to participate in sports. Miss Voss doesn’t stop worrying about her students when she leaves school. The conversations about our students, lesson preparation, and development of enrichment experiences continue until her head hits her pillow. Miss Voss is currently working toward her National Boards and is regularly asked to teach professional development sessions at our school and district. Sarah Voss is such a passionate educator and her belief in her students makes a difference in the lives of her 6th graders. One of her students wrote, “In my opinion, I would want to be Miss Voss for a day, because she is athletic, funny, and smart”. I am so incredibly inspired by Sarah and her dedication to each of her students is simply impressive. She is one of the most humble people I know and deserves to be recognized and celebrated for the difference she makes in the lives of her students!
Catherine Weiss – ELA Intervention Specialist – Chittenango, NY – I am writing to express my interest in nominating Catherine Weiss for the Most Valuable Person in The Life Of A Student Award. Katie (is what she likes to be called) has been teaching for 14 years. She is currently working as an Academic Intervention Specialist for Reading at Bolivar Road Elementary School, in Chittenango, NY. Anyone who has taught knows that teaching children how to read can be one of the toughest jobs. Katie has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to teaching children how to read. She has many tools and resources in her toolbox that she implements with our scholars on a daily basis. Katie is a role model to her colleagues, as she is consistently keeping up with the professional development, surrounding current and data driven practices, in the ELA world. Katie leads and participates in many professional development opportunities within the Chittenango Central School District. She has been an integral part of planning two Superintendent Conference Days for the entire district. Also, Katie helps plan the two week Parents as Reading Partners (PARP) Event at our school. From decorating hallways, to planning Family PARP Night, to creating reading logs, Katie makes PARP memorable and meaningful for all. That is why she is admired by all of her colleagues. She has positively impacted so many scholars in the Chittenango Central School District. Katie does whatever it takes to help all of her scholars learn to read. She spends an endless amount of time preparing lessons, researching new strategies, attending conferences, and teaching her scholars. Her ability to connect with her scholars and help them be successful is remarkable. Katie’s compassion for her scholars is contagious. Katie has experienced some severe health complications in her past, as well as in the present. It always amazes me how she perseveres through it all to continue to come to work each and every day, because that is what is best for our scholars. She is currently in a boot and has to ride a scooter and even through all of that she has managed to organize and implement our school’s PARP initiatives, which entails daily activities, a family night, and an assembly just to name a few. Overall, Katie is one of the kindest, caring, hardworking, most knowledgeable about reading that I have ever met. She is more than deserving of this award, as she has touched many children’s lives and will continue to do so.
Educators will have an easier way to attain graduate school credit. Trainings and webinars led by Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC (MostValuablePD.com) will now have an option for participants to receive graduate credits at Lindenwood University. The trainings offered include: trauma, challenging behaviors, student achievement, differentiation, and students mental health and wellness.
Dr. Bryan Pearlman, founder of Most Valuable Professional Development, shares the reason for offering graduate credits to educators, “Educators are very committed to lifelong learning. At the same time, educators work very long hours and this can make completing graduate classes a real challenge. We wanted to help them to complete their annual required professional development hours and receive graduate school credit at the same time. We are grateful to Lindenwood University to helping to make this possible.”
Most Valuable Professional Development offers many online webinars and is currently touring the country providing trainings for schools and districts. The team of 12 trainers has set a goal of positively impacting over 100,000 educators and a million students in the next few years.
Please contact Dr. Bryan Pearlman for more information about Most Valuable Professional Development and also about the graduate school credit training option at: 314-455-4347 or bryan@MostValuablePD.com.
“The student that disrupts the learning of others, makes your life miserable, uses unking language, and is the most difficult to like – is the one that needs you the most!” -Dr. Bryan Pearlman
A student with challenging behaviors can negatively impact a classroom environment and in some cases an entire school. These disruptions can present safety challenges and prevent the student (and other students) from accessing the curriculum. There are a variety of causes of these behaviors, many of which are mental health, trauma, or environmentally related. Regardless of the cause of the behaviors, these situations require careful planning, compassion, and skill.
A positive in dealing with children with challenging behaviors is that there are many strategies, tools, and interventions that have been implemented successfully to help reduce the behaviors and help improve the present and future outlook for the student.
Students with challenging behaviors generally struggle with:
1) Engine Always Running High & Short Fuse
The student arrives at school already at a level 7 or 8 on a scale of 10. This would be considered the student’s norm or relative calm. The challenge with this is that any minor setback, annoyance, frustration, disappointment or change can set this student off and in a big way. The student’s reaction would be thought of as an extreme overreaction to a minor item.
2) Limited Coping Skills and Tools
The student has limited coping skills and few tools to use when frustrated, upset, annoyed or disappointed. As a result of having limited coping skills and few tools, the child reacts in a negative way. This may involve physical contact with staff or students, destruction of school work or other objects, use of inappropriate language, refusal to follow directions, and eloping from the classroom, area and/or school.
3) Lack of Ability to Self-Regulate
The student has limited or no ability to self-regulate emotions and/or calm down when they are frustrated, upset, annoyed, disappointed, or make a mistake. This situation may involve crying, shutting down, physical contact with staff or students, destruction of school work or other objects, use of inappropriate language, refusal to follow directions, and eloping from the classroom, area and/or school.
4) Negative Thinking & Lack of Hope
The student has negative thoughts and is lacking hope. This may be as a result of a difficult home life, trauma, or past disappointments. These negative thoughts interfere with the student’s ability to complete school work, establish healthy relationships or take positive educational risks.
5) Fixed Mindset & Inflexible
The student has limited ability to “go with the flow” or accept change in an appropriate way. When faced with an unexpected change, this student reacts by shutting down. The student becomes unable to problem solve or discuss what they are feeling.
6) Poor Peer Relations and Difficulty Making Friends
The student may have exhibited inappropriate behaviors that make other students scared or reluctant to interact with them. In addition, the student may have poor social skills that further prevent existing peers and new peers from wanting to become friends with them. The lack of friends makes the student’s situation more difficult. Adding to the student’s challenges, is a feeling of isolation and potentially a negative outlook.
7) Difficulty with Introspection & Empathy
The student has limited ability to reflect and articulate about feelings, emotions, and/or actions. This relates to those internally and those in others.
8) Lack of Social Skills
The student may have difficulty with social skills. This makes engaging in conversations, working appropriately with adults, and being accepted by others. The lack of social skills also has the potential of escalating situations, due to the student’s inability to accept “no” for an answer, disagree appropriately, or appropriately respond to an adult.
Strategies to use when working with a student with challenging behaviors:
-Work as a team to problem solve and create a safety plan
-Document (before, during & after)
-Do not take things personally (it is not about you)
-Focus on and reward the positives
-Create a safe and quiet space in the room and also a buddy classroom
-Teach social skills
-Identify the captain of the team (critical friend) to build relationships, daily check-in/out
-Use fewer words
-Include stakeholders and student in creation of a plan
-Incorporate daily movement and mindfulness activities
-Out of the box thinking
-Incorporate movement and mindfulness items
-Monitor progress & modify plan as needed
-Clear and concise rules and expectations
-Plan for regular and frequent breaks
-Plan for transitions and changes in schedules/routines
-Focus on behavior not the student
-Listen and look for triggers
-Help identify and implement replacement behaviors
-Build the bank account with student and family with positive interactions
-Involve therapy and mental health resources
-Build hope for the future
-Give more responsibility than what is deserved
Dr. Bryan Pearlman is the founder of Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC (MostValuablePD.com). He has served as a teacher, principal, and professor. Dr. Pearlman is on a mission to positively impact 100,000 educators and a million students by providing professional development and webinars on trauma, challenging behaviors, differentiation, and ensuring that all students reach their potential.
You can reach Most Valuable Professional Development (MostValuablePD.com) at: 314-323-7340 and bryan@MostValuablePD.com.
Educator professional development company Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC, has set the goal of impacting 100,000 educators and a million students in the next year. The Creve Coeur, Missouri based professional development company is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of America’s children.
Most Valuable Professional Development’s founder, Dr. Bryan Pearlman, shares his reasons for setting this ambitious goal, “35 million children have experienced at least one traumatic event in their life and one in five students has or will have a serious mental illness. It is so important to get out in the community to help educators and families to be better equipped at helping children to be successful in school and life. We can positively impact an entire generation.”
The company plans to achieve this goal by traveling the country and by providing online webinars for educators. The decision to travel the country and help educators has the support of Dr. Pearlman’s wife, “My wife Lena Pearlman is a mental health therapist in St. Louis. She has seen the needs of children and teens grow exponentially in the past few years in her practice. We have had so many late night conversations about how to best help improve this situation. This idea was definitely a team decision and one that we are both excited about.”
The educational professional development activitieswill cover: trauma, challenging behaviors, differentiation, student achievement, and school improvement.
We are very excited to announce the 2017-2018 MVP Award Nominees. They have each been nominated by a supervisor, colleague, student, or community member because of their positive impact on the life of a student.
After reviewing the nominees, you can vote for the 2017-2018 MVP Award Winner by clicking here.
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
Rebecca is the most valuable person in a student’s life because she is a special education teacher who helps each and every child grow and learn in a safe and encouraging environment. The students in her resource class have made great gains and love to see Miss A throughout their school day! She has touched many lives here at Hutchinson Elementary.
Ms. Bontemps is a wonderful example, mentors, supporter and champion for our Ventura Tigers. She provides guidance and directions for those students with challenging behaviors and support and encouragement for those needing a significant adult in their lives. In addition to discipline and guidance, she also provides powerful leadership to our safety patrols. Not only does she give them a badge and belt, but she provides strategies along with purpose for their work as school leaders. She always takes times for our young learners and she makes herself available to staff as well. She will model class meetings, provided offer classroom management best practices, and create and support the monitor of individual student behavior plans. Ms. Bontemps is a very valuable asset in our school community because of the positive impact she has on our learners.
AP LIT TEACHER
Autumn has the highest instructional standards for her students. She creates lesson plans that embody her commitment to student learning. She tracks student progress with formative assessments that give immediate insight into where students need additional support. Autumn also provides tremendous affective and emotional guidance for her students. In addition to her roles as teacher, grade level chair, and service coordinator, Autumn has established a chess club at YPFW; her students compete – and do well – in competitions with other schools. Autumn is truly an extraordinary young educator who is making a difference in the lives of her students.
Mrs. Brosier is the most valuable person in the life of “Billy”. Billy is one of those students that comes from life circumstances that are more challenging than most of the adults in our building have faced. Billy’s life has taught him how to be hungry, how to be fearful, how to be angry, how to be resentful, and how to deal with abandonment… Mrs. Brosier this year has worked hard to develop a rapport and trust with Billy. Billy now has learned to be open, to be trusting, that it is cool to be smart, how to be a successful student and a caring person… Billy has learned it is ok to be cared for. Billy no longer resents school, Elda is his safe space, Mrs. Brosier’s class is where he can be whatever he wants. Mrs. Brosier’s class has taught him it is ok to dream, and that people believe in him and we all know great things are in his future. Thank you Mrs. Brosier for seeing Billy for more than an angry, scared, disruptive child… Thank you for seeing him for who he is, and just as importantly for helping Billy see himself for who he is.
Every day, without reservation, Mrs. Brunetti’s door is open to every student. She listens, she understands, she coaches and she helps students find solutions in the most respectful ways. Whether the student is in trouble or just sad she is there to say, “I’m here for you, my friend,” and get them through their issue. Students want to talk to her. Our school is better because of her. Our students are stronger because of her. She is making a difference every day and we are so very proud to have her on our team!
Mrs. Bundy has such a big heart and makes a huge impact on the lives of her students. She provides a warm and caring environment for the kids she serves. She has a positive attitude and genuinely enjoys being at school every day. One of the wonderful things about Mrs. Bundy is that she meets the social-emotional learning needs of her kids first. For example, she has really built into and embraced two of her new students who come with many challenges and hardships. She recognizes the “whole child,” understands them for who they are, and meets them right where they are at. She checks in with them first before teaching, makes sure they have their needs met, and reminds them that she cares about them. She listens to them and provides them with a safe and nurturing place to thrive. She also works hard to help them grow academically by providing various interventions and supports. Mrs. Bundy helps them set goals for themselves and builds upon their success. She does a variety of positive behavior reinforcement which they absolutely love! She makes learning fun and exciting for her kids. Her students feel valued in her classroom. She makes them feel like they matter and make a difference in the world. They are so lucky to have a great teacher and role model with such a caring and loving heart.
VALLEY PARK, MISSOURI
Stefanie brings the love of music to her students. Not only do they learn to create music, they learn discipline, commitment, team work, and perseverance, they also experience beauty and humanity. She also works hard to provide her students with experiences way above and beyond the daily band rehearsal/performance grind, including clinics, competitions, performance trips, and guest clinicians who make being a band student special.
She devotes not only her time to helping students learn to read, but she also has donated iPads that she purchased herself, for her students to use to help them read better. She starts her day praying for her students and ends her day praying for her students. We love her!
David has had a huge impact on students in his short time here at YES Prep Northbrook Middle. He works to motivate the unmotivated as he has started a milk shake reward for any student who does not earn demerits for one week. So many students that typically are not motivated are working hard to get these milk shakes. David also unknowingly mentors students. He has a bright smile and kind words each day for all students from all grades. He has worked to build relationship with students that often go unnoticed.
GUIDANCE COUNS/COLLEGE ADVISOR
BRONX, NEW YORK
Mrs. Tioly Capellan has been a constant positive for our scholars at FDAIII. She has been a guidance counselor, a teacher and to most of our scholars’ a mother. Mrs. Capellan, was very instrumental in our graduation rate increasing by 6% from the 2016-17 to 2017-18 school year and we also saw a 9% increase in our scholars being college ready. Although one person, Mrs. Capellan has changed the climate of our school to now being a college ready school. She has been an advisor to other guidance counselors and college advisors and she is also an active member of the FDA III learning community always willing to find ways to help. She has created staples that support our college going process with our Career Day celebrations, College and Career Day signing day, FAFSA workshops and SAT Day. It is an honor to recommend Mrs. Tioly Capellan for the most valuable person in the life of a student award.
BRENTWOOD, NEW YORK
Oak Park is an elementary school in the Brentwood School District. Our district has received much negative attention in the news as a result of the extreme violence and gang related issues that have penetrated our area. In the midst of the negative attention that surrounds us, so much good is available to be acknowledged. This year, Oak Park experienced a brand new principal, Lisa Catandella. In that one year, she has been instrumental in impacting over 700 students and over 40 professionals in a tremendously positive way. She is the most valuable person in our building because she sets the positive tone for us all to follow. Her appreciation of her staff, focus on the needs of the students, and awareness of the social/emotional qualities that are necessary in the learning environment have created a culture of empathy, safety, and consideration throughout our school building. She has encouraged and established the addition of character building street signs throughout the school. Students walk down Empathy Avenue as they get to class every morning. She has paved the way for Unity Day so that all involved in the school take a stand against bullying behavior of any kind. She has established relationships with parents and students that emphasize the importance of connection and cooperation in addition to the importance of education. She has created a science summer program for our students to provide them with an atmosphere of educational passion. Since we work in an area that is challenged by gang involvement, establishing positive programs for our students is critical in keeping them associated with all of the positive experiences that life has to offer. Lisa is not a valuable person in one student’s life, she is a valuable person in all of our lives. By acting in the capacity that she does, she makes all those around her capable of seeing their value and sharing it with each other. Her passion promotes positive things. The students feel it, the staff feels it, and the future appears bright at Oak Park Elementary. We would love this opportunity to let her know how valuable she is to all those around her!
2ND GRADE BILLINGUAL TEACH
Jessica has gone far and beyond to teach her students and show them she cares about each one of them. She takes her time to get to know them and find ways to accommodate her instruction to be motivational and meaningful for her class.
Mrs. Croskey has the unique opportunity to work with all of the students in our school. She somehow manages to know our 565 students by name, and she can tell you about them as learners and as individuals. Mrs. Croskey uses music to reinforce skills and concepts being taught by our classroom teachers and she gives some students an avenue to be successful when they may otherwise struggle. She has helped us implement adapted specials into our daily schedule. These classes give students with special needs the opportunity to enjoy specials (Art, Music, PE) in a setting that is more conducive to their needs and gives them a chance to really thrive in these classes. Mrs. Croskey’s students perform several evening concerts throughout the year, giving our students the chance to be on stage and to shine. Mrs. Croskey is the most valuable person in the lives of several students! Students look forward to Mrs. Croskey’s music class, not only because it is fun (they sing, play instruments, dance, smile, and laugh), but because it is a chance for them to feel successful… a chance to feel like their typically developing peers.
I have known Mark all of my Emery High School experience and he has never wavered being at the top of the teacher chain. He is a true and dedicated educator who cares about whole; students, parent,, teachers and community. Of course teaching in an urban district can have it challenges and politics. However, as a teacher the challenges our school population face and have faced in the past, were limited stumbling blocks for Mark. He always found a way not to step aside or around the obstacle or challenge, he went through it, keeping the focus pro student, parent, teacher and community.
BRONX, NEW YORK
Ms. Del Rosario is a dedicated educator whom whose above and beyond for every scholar placed in front of her. Aside from being an amazing educator, she collaborates with her colleagues and shares best practices.
SCHOOL ADJUSTMENT COUSELOR
Mr. Devanter works tirelessly to support the most needy students in the school. He provides support and counseling, meets with parents frequently, runs a backpack food program, organizes gifts for families at holidays, and is makes the difference between some students being successful in school or being hospitalized. I once ran into am 8th grade student who had moved to another school. He had been at our school in 3rd grade. He recognized me and hugged me and wanted to see Mr. Devanthery who had worked with him in 3rd grade. This student was an English language learner and was hitting students on the playground. Mr. Devanthery counseled him and worked with the teacher, till the student was able to win the most improved student of the quarter award. When Mr. Devanthery went to see him in 8th grade, this certificate was framed on the mantel. This is a testament to the long-lasting influence of Mr. Devanthery in the life of a child.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Being in high school isn’t easy, especially when it comes to fitting in. Students are judged by their clothing, hair style, and other factors that make life difficult especially when you come from a family that struggles. Lara Dickens decided to help all students by opening up a Thrift Store at Henry High School. Students donate items they’re tired of and others can purchase them for $1.00. If students can’t afford the payment, arrangements are made for them to “shop” for free. When it comes to a dance, dresses are brought in from students, staff, and community members. Imagine getting a new suit and a dress for Winter formal or Prom for $2.00? This doesn’t change the life for one person, but it certainly means the world to individuals who thought these events were out of reach for them to participate in. Our Thrift Store is just one of the many reasons I’m nominating Ms. Dickens because her actions are life-changing for our students in small but very significant way.
Mrs. Ellinghausen is a key part of her students’ lives! She sets a great example every day by being a positive role model and wonderful leader. She cares deeply about her students, going above and beyond to make their first experience at Elda a fantastic one. She makes her kids feel special and loved. She welcomes them with open arms in her classroom and makes sure their needs are being met. Mrs. Ellinghausen is deserving of this award not only because she is positive, caring, and a great role model. She helped develop the extended day program (Kinderplus) at Elda. Her strong leadership has been a crucial part of the continual growth and innovation of our school. Mrs. Ellinghausen has done a great job with the implementation and building of our Kinderplus program. She always has the kids’ best interests in mind and is an integral part of the growth our school and community.
Mrs. Gassmann is the most valuable person in the life of many students! Mrs. Gassmann works in the front office serving a variety of roles for our school. She greets families and welcomes them to our building, she takes care of sick or injured students in the clinic, she is a member of our Attendance Intervention Team, she serves as a mentor for students, she helped coordinate Whiz Kids- an after school mentoring program, the list could go on and on… The reason Mrs. Gassman is deserving of this recognition is because she wears all of these hats with a smile and a with student centered focus. She goes out of her way to ensure our students are safe, cared for, and taken care of in and out of school. She does this by reaching out to families and helping develop ideas to help support our students’ and families’ needs, by providing information on outside resources, by meeting with students and/or families, and by going about her many jobs in a positive, professional, child-centered way. Our students and families are lucky to have Mrs. Gassmann!
Ms. Gil has distinguished herself by demonstrating a genuine concern for the overall health and welfare of our students. She works to ensure that our students are provided with a nurturing environment and the necessary resources to assist them in their personal life. She advocates for all of our students to ensure that teachers and staff understand the circumstances of each youth home environment. She has demonstrated excellent organizational and leadership skills in enriching the lives of our students.
FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA
Mrs. Dawn Gray has been teaching middle school students for over twenty-seven years. She began her career in Lee County School District before relocating to Florence School District One where she taught at Williams Middle School. In 1999, Dawn transferred to Southside Middle School, which is in Florence School District One as well, where she has been employed since 1999.
Despite her quiet demeanor, Dawn has been the ideal innovative and mindful leader at the school and district level. For more than seven years, Dawn has served as the department head for the social studies department at Southside Middle School. Additionally, Dawn is an integrative leader in the school as we promote 21st century skills. Moreover, Dawn serves as a lead on the FSD1 District Curriculum Alignment Document. This document serves as a pacing guide for all social studies teachers in eighth grade. Most recently, Dawn was one of the few selected to be a member of the Discovery Education Digital Leader Corps. The goal of this team is to support the integration of technology. Her extraordinary skills, traits and style are the perfect fit for any school and district.
Dawn’s involvement does not stop there. She understands the importance of literacy skills in helping students understand information and solve real world problems. Dawn was one of the first none reading or ELA teachers to be trained as a LDC (Literacy Design Curriculum) teacher. Let us recognize and understand that this speaks volumes about the kind of teacher Mrs. Gray is. What we know is that Mrs. Gray will make great use of this information and training. What we know is that she will share this information with teachers within Southside and outside of Southside as her goal is to do her part in ensuring that every student is college and career ready. Her commitment to fine tuning her skills as a teacher is extraordinary. Her observations, conducted by the district English Language Arts coordinator and SREB LDC/MDC coach, demonstrate her positive implementation of LDC strategies.
Dawn is an innovative leader in the area of technology. She is always willing to share tech points and tools with her colleagues. In modeling best strategies and practices, Dawn is comfortable in conveying knowledge to, not only students, but also colleagues. Students and fellow colleagues feel comfortable with Dawn’s approach and execution of knowledge and skills. The many ways Dawn contributes to student and staff will never be told by her. She is a humble individual who is focused on students. She would rather talk about and be about ensuring that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and educated. Mrs. Dawn Gray is an exemplary representation for the Most Valuable Person.
PORT CHARLOTTE, FLORIDA
Mrs. Greenwood goes above and beyond to connect and work with her students. Her focus is not just academics but the students’ mental and emotional health as well. She volunteers her time to mentor students. She is genuine about her approach and concern for the well-being of her students. From phone calls home to home visits she never stops trying to make a difference in each student’s life. She is an advocate and a hero to her students who love and admire her.
Sherry Hall is not just a fabulous Freshman Transition/Health teacher where she reaches the lives of many 9th graders every year; she is also the Peer Leadership Adviser for the school. She has been instrumental in the implementation of Chino High School’s H.O.P.E. (Helping Our Peers Everyday) program in which the students are trained to be peer mentors to other students. The program is NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) affiliated and the students work with their peers to ensure they feel safe at school and have a mentor to speak to when in need. Not to mention, the H.O.P.E. students reach out to their feeder schools to spread kindness and words of encouragement.
When Ms. Holmes came to our school in October of 2014 we were in dire need of a strong leader; our school grade had dropped from an “A” to a “C” in just two years. In her time here at Hidden Oaks our faculty and staff has grown by leaps and bounds, due to her strong leadership skills as well as her ability to build and maintain meaningful relationships. Additionally, the school’s culture has never been better, as we now collaborate much more with our colleagues in other grade levels and consider each student and their personal educational needs.
Kenisha brought with her a wide and diverse skill-set, which is exactly what was needed at our school at that moment in time. In addition to the improvement in the school’s culture, Ms. Holmes has brought with her a great understanding of data and the importance of disaggregating it in order to meet the needs of our diverse population of students here at Hidden Oaks. It is because of her that teachers now meet twice a week in Professional Learning Communities (which are led by members of the leadership team, as well as Ms. Holmes herself); once a week is designated for lesson planning, and once a week is for looking at current data trends and making instructional shifts as needed based on the data; this way we are ensuring that we are meeting the needs of a// of our learners.
As someone who has been employed at Hidden Oaks for the past 6 years, I can honestly say that her leadership has made all of the difference at our school. Kenisha has the ability to think quickly on her feet and make solid decisions that positively impact the lives of both students and adults alike.
Ms. Holmes has put great effort into involving our parents and community members in school events; something that had previously not been seen here at Hidden Oaks. We have noticed a huge increase in parent participation at school events (such as concerts, SAC meetings, literacy-related events, field trips, PTA activity nights, etc.)-not to mention the fact that the 445 students here at Hidden Oaks Elementary absolutely LOVE Ms. Holmes! She has a wonderful way of connecting with each and every student, making them feel special and appreciated! One of the biggest changes (and accomplishments) that Ms. Holmes initiated upon her arrival at Hidden Oaks was her implementation of the “S.W.A.G.” (Students With Achievable Goals) tutoring program. Prior to her arrival our tutoring program was rather lackluster; the curriculum was boring, the attendance and enrollment frequently fluctuated, and students saw tutoring as just another hour in their day. Now students are chomping at the bit to be a part of S.W.A.G. as Ms. Holmes has transformed tutoring into something that EVERYONE wants to be a part of! Students are incentivized on a weekly basis with spirit sticks, positive reinforcement, shout-outs on Hot News as well as S.W.A.G. t-shirts which were provided for tutors and tutees alike (free of charge-all thanks to Ms. Holmes!). Kenisha has turned tutoring from a boring, ‘sit and get’ setting to a fun and interactive small group setting where students are learning through interactive SmartBoard games and undertakings along with other fun and innovative lessons. Hidden Oaks currently services 75 students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade in our S.W.A.G. tutoring program, and through close monitoring of data, and monthly meetings with our tutors we are seeing gains like we have never seen before!
Mrs. Holt always show compassion with students and makes them feel special. She goes out of her way to eat lunch with students and connect with them. For instance, she is always asking what we have going on in class in order to help our students who see her in class. She also thinks of ways to reward students through prizes and recognition.
3RD GRD TEACHER
In her 30+ years as an educator, Ms. Hotcaveg has always put her students first. She is as passionate about her students’ well-being, academically and beyond, today as she was when she first started her career. Often, Ms. Hotcaveg takes not just her own students under her wing, but those in other classes, providing academic enrichment after school and on Saturdays. Her priority is to build in her students their self-confidence through academic success.
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Ms. Isaac cares for children. This teacher is always looking for ways to improve her students’ capabilities by giving them access to the curriculum at or very close to their development level. She has high aspirations for children and there is growth evident in her pedagogy and her students’ progress. There is no limit to what students can achieve, everyone is viewed through the lens of a high achiever. Ms. Isaac challenges herself and encourages her peers. She is a champion and a catalyst for change; a change that exemplifies her belief that all children can and will learn when given opportunities to do so.
ROOSEVELT, NEW YORK
I believe Dr. Vivian Isom deserves the nomination of Most Valuable Person. Dr. Isom has given many years of sharing her gifts and talent with our high school students and the Roosevelt Union Free School District. Dr. Isom has been a tremendous influence in the development of the Roosevelt High School’s image and voice. She has been the eyes, ears, and voice of our community.
Dr. Isom also volunteer her time to run the Girls Resolutions Club. She has created an opportunity to for young ladies to have a voice among their peers.
She transforms her students into career minded individuals.
This is an excellent time to recognize this outstanding educator.
Mrs. Jeffery is our one and only school counselor at Garrett Elementary. I don’t know how to fully describe what she does for all of us but in a nutshell, she’s the love that holds us all together. She often is counselor to the adults but never falters when it comes to her primary directive; children. She works one on one, with small groups, and is instrumental in bringing in outside support for our children and their families. Mrs. Jeffery is a member of our leadership team, co-facilitates student council, and runs our peer mediator group. I honestly cannot see Garrett in the same way without her loving presence in its hallways.
She truly is the MVP at Garrett Elementary
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
Joannette is fierce, and she is all about the relationship first. I would call her a “warm demander” and a “warm defender.” She is kind, gentle, and loving — and she has high standards of excellence. That combination has positively impacted students’ academic achievement as well as their belief in themselves over the last four years that she has worked her. She expects nothing less than students’ best effort, and because of the environment she has created in our Special Education classroom, students feel comfortable rising to the occasion. And any time students are not given the opportunity to put their best foot forward, she advocates on their behalf while teaching them how to advocate for themselves. Because of her work and tenacity with students, our program continues to improve here, and students – even those who are not served through Special Education – continue to improve year after year. Students love “Mrs. Jay,” and while the seniors she teaches are ready to graduate (because they are seniors, of course!), they don’t want to leave her!
ROOSEVELT, NEW YORK
Mr. Jones is most valuable to students because he always shows dedication, encouragement and respect to all students and families in our school district and community. He has a kind and nurturing disposition towards children. He is a true MVP to all!
The students come into my office with smiles from ear to ear when they speak about MR. Kabugu. They are so tickled by his personality. The tickles become very contagious, especially if you know Kabugu on a personal level. He is a character for sure 🙂 He will be greatly missed here at Yes Prep 5th Ward!
BRONX, NEW YORK
Ms Kidd has 1. Collaborated with Math Coach to implement new math program 2. Worked with colleagues on best practices in dealing with difficult children 3. Model best math practices for colleagues and district personnel. 4. Stayed late on numerous occasions to tutor her students and prep them for performances
Mrs. Kohls is the most valuable person in the lives of many, many students! Mrs. Kohls teaches 3rd grade at Blue Ash Elementary School, but she is much much more than a teacher at that school. She is a leader; she serves on several committees, she is helping lead the charge to implement PBIS, she serves as a mentor for young teachers, she is working to implement co-teaching and PBL… Mrs. Kohls understands the importance of being innovative and growing as an educator, but she also understands the importance of helping the students she works with develop into good people. She works hard to develop rapport and relationships with each of her students. She has a profound understanding of student’s social emotional needs. She begins every day with a class meeting to meet the students where they are and help get them emotionally ready to learn. She ensures that her students feel safe and cared for. Mrs. Kohls recently had a student, we will call him, “Johnny”. Johnny was that student, the one that always found a way to get in trouble, the student that was always angry, aggressive, disruptive, etc… Johnny was acting out… Johnny has a pretty tough home-life, and he has learned at a young age, it is easier to be the child that people are mad at instead of the child that people loved. Mrs. Kohls was not going to let that continue. She talked with Johnny one-on-one, she made him an active part of her morning meetings, she carefully set him up to have successful interactions with his peers… she slowly cracked that tough outer shell. She continues to build this relationship daily. Johnny is now much more inclined to trust folks and to do his best. Johnny is much more comfortable being vulnerable and taking chances… Johnny is just one example of what Mrs. Kohls does on a regular basis… yeah, she makes sure her students can read and write, but just as importantly she makes sure her kids can smile. She does this through a safe, nurturing environment with laser-like focus ensuring students social emotional needs are met in addition their academic needs. Mrs. Kohls is an innovative teacher and an outstanding person. I had the opportunity to work with her when we taught at a school that served a lot of students with a variety of needs. Her ability to teach students and make connections with children amazed me every day, her ability to make relationships and help students grows continues to amaze me to this day. She has a passion for teaching and she genuinely loves and cares about each of the children she serves. Mrs. Kohls is definitely the most valuable person in the lives of many students.
Cindy is a teacher who maximizes student learning both in and out of the classroom. When she was teaching a unit about job applications, she personally drove a few students around to different business on the weekend to help them apply for jobs. One of our students who had low motivation got hired on the spot with her help!
During and after Hurricane Harvey, Cindy was the campus spearhead for student and family support. While school was closed, she hosted teachers at her house to serve as a “headquarters” to call and check on students. She personally called every student that she taught, and she also coordinated a huge clothing drive on campus to help affected families. Even after school has resumed, she still runs point on making sure that families have groceries, uniforms, and school supplies if they are struggling to access them.
Cindy is also a strong Latina role model for many of our students who are 90% Hispanic or Latinx. Cindy even escorted one of our undocumented students to the airport at 4:30 when she was visiting a college in New York, because the student was afraid to get detained at the TSA checkpoint.
In the classroom, Cindy teaches students about college and career readiness. She helps students apply to college in her Seminar class, as well as create all the college application components. She also incorporates 21st century technology in the classroom, making sure that students are proficient in emailing, Microsoft Office suite, as well as creating their own digital presentations. One of my favorite projects she planned was for students to research different colleges and create a presentation for the class. After the project, Cindy actually planned for students to be able to visit some of the colleges that they researched to translate the classroom learning to real life!
Cindy also cares deeply for the other staff members on campus. When one of our staff members passed away from bone cancer, Cindy coordinated meals for the past teacher’s family. She also started a “Millard Garden” memorial on campus, and she still keeps up with the garden to this day. Most recently, she led the committee to award college scholarships to students of the teacher, which were raised from his funeral donations.
When I think about a true MVP in the life of a student, Cindy is the first person who comes to mind. I cannot think of anyone who is more valuable to our students more than her, and she is truly immensely valuable our campus – both inside and outside the classroom. She is not just an MVP to one student – but to every student she teaches.
RIVERVIEW GARDENS, MISSOURI
Ms. Liddell is kind, caring and realistic when it comes to dealing with our freshman scholars. Considering their mindset and where they need to go over the course of their high school career, she goes above and beyond to ensure they have a clear picture of the expectations as well as their own abilities.
ROOSEVELT, NEW YORK
Not only is Ana a Teacher Assistant she has gone well beyond her duties with the students & staff ANA has played a part in helping the student raise funds for their graduation for a number of year . She has also counseled and uplifted students as well as staff to be there very best.
4TH GRADE TEACHER
BRONX, NEW YORK
Ms. Linares does not give up ever. She works hard and smart to make sure all students are learning. She finds ways to reach all learners. She is available, she is kind, she is loving, she values her students. For the state test she prepared special motivational baggies for them to do well. She gives up her lunch to celebrate her students. She cares deeply about what they learned and she has dedicated her life to being a smart, loving, and awesome educator. The children love her and look forward to seeing her each morning.
She has perfect attendance and comes in sick because she does not want her students to miss instruction.
BRONX, NEW YORK
Nicole begins each day with a smile when she sees her students. The students are aware of her energy; therefore they are more productive and engage. It’s a unique and wonderful situation to see Mrs. Rivera begin her day smiling with students and the latter meeting with parents and Committees on Preschool Special Education -making sure that children received the correct recommendations and what’s best for the families, as well as making sure it’s all in compliance with policy and regulations. She’s the only CPSE in the Roosevelt UFSD. Students, parents, teachers, clericals, custodians and Administrators enjoy Mrs. Rivera work ethics -as well as she’s always smiling while working.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Audra’s outreach is incomparable; She has been able to touch the lives of many over her career as a teacher, literacy support specialist, and now, as a 2nd year principal, she has been able to transform Encanto Elementary into a model school contender in a short period of time. Not only is she an integral and valuable person for the children of Encanto, but her actions and words demonstrate her lifetime commitment to them.
As a leader, she is a great example and support to all teachers, parents, and students, whom she genuinely serves; service may be an understatement. She genuinely cares for all her students. Audra devotes countless additional hours, and her personal means to ensure the success of the students in this underprivileged community. For years, and through various positions, Audra has been committed to serving the low income neighborhood of Encanto. She has built trust among stakeholders and has been an effective leader in creating a positive community within the school. Additionally, she has strengthened the Encanto neighborhood through parent and volunteer involvement and relationship building, that will no doubt benefit children and families for years to come.
As an advocate for the children under her principalship, Audra relentlessly seeks, fights for, or creates resources for the benefit of individual students, school-wide, and community as a whole. It is fair to say that she is always rooting for the underdog; roots for the ones who society may dismiss without hope, yet she sees the potential, what these children can become as they beat the odds, and she wants to help them do just that. Audra has quickly recruited and developed a strong team of education professional staff at Encanto Elementary that have a similar passion and enthusiasm to create an institution of dignified education that these students deserve.
Audra Mandler has truly been the most valuable person in the life of a child, thousands of times over.
Coach Marsh recently retired as a football coach of 45 years. He continues to teach Health/P.E at Munster High School. He has been a role model for young students for his entire career but most importantly has given back to thousands of families through the Mustang Toy Roundup. Families in need of support of the holidays have benefited from his generosity for over three decades.
rs. Maybury is a remarkable teacher and is the most valuable person in the life of her students! She sets high expectations for her students and pushes them to grow. She encourages them to set high academic goals and helps them achieve their goals. She goes above and beyond to help her kids reach the third grade reading guarantee. If a kid is struggling, she gives them resources and interventions to help as much as possible. She accommodates a variety of learners with various needs in her classroom. She gives each child different ways to learn based on their specific learning style. She also accommodates difficult behavior by reinforcing the rules and modeling respectful and responsible behavior. When struggling students make gains and improve, she celebrates their successes! Mrs. Maybury sets kids up to be successful by setting high expectations, accommodating learning styles and challenging behaviors, and pushing kids to be their best. She helps kids grow each and every day. Thank you for all you do for Elda!
RIVERVIEW GARDENS, MISSOURI
He is a change agent. He is not only concerned about their current academic status, but their life. He has built positive relationships with cadets (students) and their families. He has opened up opportunities for our students to present their talents in ROTC in various community venues, not to mention presenting colors at many of the St. Louis Cardinals games. He is well loved by his peers and just a positive light for our school. He deserves this nomination.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Mrs. Mitchell is the greatest. She always cares of the kids at Crete, loves them and listens to them. I want Mrs. Mitchell to know that she makes a difference every day for the leaders at Crete Academy. We love you Mrs. Mitchell
LAKE CITY, SOUTH CAROLINA
Coach M, as the students call her, is so important to the students at Olanta Elementary School. I have observed how she interacts with each child! I have noticed how the students find her and talk to her about almost everything. Everything from school life to home life. She also has students leave her company with a smile and hope that things will get better. She attends their recreational games, church programs, and other community events, in which he or she may be in! To our students there is no one who cares for them like Coach M! Her actions speak so much louder than her words!!
3RD GRADE TEACHER
PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS
Mrs. Moody goes above and beyond for her students. She is so good at what she does that when another third grade teacher went on maternity leave, the principal asked her to split her time so she could teach those students as well. The students adore her and her love for them is obvious in observing the relationships she fosters with each one!
BRENTWOOD, NEW YORK
She has become the most valuable person in the lives of 6 Level IV Emotionally Disturbed students by the way she cultivates positive relationships and intervenes when crisis occurs. While she provides regular counseling with this group, she takes the extra time and effort to connect to families, provide school equipment for students who are lacking the basic educational tools like books, pens and paper and assists with providing Christmas Gifts for these socio-economically challenged pupils during the holiday season. She attends school trips and volunteers as a chaperone to supervise these students on school trips. She also offers safe/quiet lunch time for the pupils and is co-advisor for the Impact Club that fosters unity with our SWD populations and general education students who learn from each other that our differences make us unique and also the same. She is someone who sincerely and genuinely cares about people and extends herself to others, and in particular to students who often display behavior that is negative and destructive. It is during these moments that her tenderness and patience impact these youngsters in a most profound way, because she is able to communicate love, even when the youngster dare us to despise them. She is truly a special person who is most valuable to our youngsters who need her to get through the day.
DIRECTOR COLLEGE COUNSELING
Jeevan Moses has helped hundreds of students move on to college. His current goal is to help YES Prep matriculate and understand what value each student brings to the world. Countless students and parents rely on him and look forward to his help to achieve their lifelong dreams of attending college.
Bridget Nylander is an amazing teacher. She connects with all students. she brings tremendous passion each and every day. She is always on and uses every minute of every class time to engage with her students. She truly cares about each and every student. Her positive attitude brings a ray of sunshine to her classes at all times.
STUDENT SUPPORT COUNSELOR
Mrs. Osuna has been an invaluable force on our campus since I began employment with YES Prep Public Schools; her presence and professional services are truly indiscriminate.
She caters to both students and staff to ensure that our work environment(s) are stress-free so that we can perform at our highest potential. Her methodological tactics are derived from her education and professional training as a school counselor.
Additionally, she is always willing and able to assist with tasks that are outside of her job description. For example, when students are not able to make it to school (due to various reasons) Mrs. Osuna is willing to utilize her personal vehicle as a means of transportation to ensure so that those precious hours of student-learning are not missed.
“Super Osuna,” is her campus nickname because she is truly the epitome of a selfless, hard-working student support counselor! It seems as if she can solve, literally, everything. She’s amazing, no joke!
The impact that she has on the students and campus as a whole is insurmountable and that’s why I believe Mrs. Osuna is worthy of recognition and is a true “MVP” in the lives of our students (and staff)!
BRONX, NEW YORK
s with great pleasure to nominate Ms. Darimir Pérez for consideration for this award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in addressing and raising awareness about issues of bulling, college and career path, Cyber bullying in our community and creating a positive e inclusive environment and school culture.
As PBIS school where respect for diversity is instilled in our school community by constantly highlighting the importance of individuality and the strength found in the union of uniqueness. To achieve our inclusive environment, she constantly teaches the desirable behavior and expectations by, visually and verbally, reminding our students, parents and faculty, that I.S. 528 is a safe space school, sheltered from epithets, bias, physical aggression, threatening actions, and/or criticism intended to harm others emotions, ideas, preferences, distinctiveness, identity, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity, strengths and/or weaknesses. Parents and the community are included in assisting us sustaining a bias- free environment by providing workshops and school events where community officials contribute with available resources. Parents, staff and students become familiar with 24 hour resources such as “STOMP OUT BULLYING” and “THAT’S NOT COOL” amongst others.
Erick is the teacher that most students gravitate towards. He truly cares about who they are, what they stand for and how they will change the world. Whenever students misbehave, Erick’s approach is that of a father. He wants students to learn from their mistakes so that they do not make the same mistake again.
Not many people are called to be teachers and truly teach from the heart. However, Erick is that rare teacher that we all aspire to have or to be. His passion for leading students forward is evident in all his interactions.
His relationships with staff also motivate us to do better. Whenever we are tired or just want to give up, his positivity and outlook push us to see everything through.
BRONX, NEW YORK
Ms. Perez has not touched one life but hundreds. She is the soul and spirit behind our extraordinary college initiatives. Ms. Perez does not stop with just guiding kids for college, she takes them by their hand until they reach their dorms or classrooms in college.
ROOSEVELT, NEW YORK
Mr. Raymond Polk is considered the most valuable person in the life of a student because of his relentless pursuit to ensure their success both in and outside the classroom; academically and social emotionally. Understanding that the Middle School life of a student is a very turbulent time for a child, due to the hormonal and social emotional developmental changes they go through, Mr. Polk embraces the challenge and engages all students for their benefit and helping them maintain a healthy school culture and climate. Mr. Polk is our lead Guidance Counselor but he is also the adviser for the Peer Mediation Club, pushes into classes for “Kids to College” lessons and is a lead member of the Master Scheduling team. Additionally Mr. Polk also holds training sessions with the faculty to assist them in acclimating and relating to the student population; regardless of student’s particular developmental needs. He is and continues to be an advocate for our Children! We consider Mr. Raymond Polk as our MVP of the Roosevelt Middle School. Due to his unwavering commitment to the students and his laser like focus on their success academically and social-emotionally, in and outside the school, I nominate Mr. Raymond Polk, Guidance Counselor, an educator that the children love,
ROOSEVELT, NEW YORK
Mrs Pond is not only an excellent librarian. She also works with individual students to boost their writing skills, conflict resolution ability and self-esteem. Mrs. Pond has made a critical contribution to the lives of hundreds of elementary students in a district with many difficult living situations.
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
Mrs. Erin Pugh is the true definition of a special education teacher. Mrs. Pugh is a Collaborative Special Education teacher, working with students who have profound needs. Students ranging from hearing impaired, to autistic. Mrs. Pugh has initiated programs, such as Project Outreach and Breakfast with a Friend, not to mention hours spent engaged with Special Olympics. Her size is small, but her heart is as big as Mount Everest! Mrs. Pugh is truly an MVP spending countless hours devoted to her students and a role model for her peers. The best, I have ever, in my 28 years, had the privilege to work with!
BRONX, NEW YORK
Ms.Quinones is a devoted teacher. My son has dyslexia and reading and writing has always been a struggle for him. Ms.Quinones has always maintained a culture of positivity in her classroom. She has differentiated learning for my son and has assured that he is receiving the support he needs. In her hands my son has moved up 5 reading levels. She is dedicated to her students and their success and has treated my son as if he were her own.
POCOMOKE CITY, MARYLAND
Mrs. Jenifer Rayne is a champion for every student in our rural, high-poverty high school located on the eastern shore of Maryland. She works tirelessly toward our school mission, #project100, which states that 100% of our students graduate with a college or career choice firmly in place. She runs our bi-weekly Student Progress Meetings, which track the plan and progress of our struggling learners. She is the lead administrator for our special education team and is also in charge of our buildings and grounds. Mrs. Rayne is also the co-founder of a new initiative in our school, Your 60. This is an essentially an hour long block in the middle of the school day that allows students to get lunch, attend remediation or enrichment classes, meet with clubs, study with friends, or exercise. Your 60 has helped to lower our behavior referrals and the amount of D’s and F’s. As a new administrator, Jen Rayne has been a tremendous mentor to me. She has shown me how to hold our students to high expectations while also giving them all of the love they need. As Jen often says, “we’re hard on them because we care”!
ROOSEVELT, NEW YORK
Mrs. Rivera has been in our district 13 years. She gets involved in anything and everything that happens in the district that is related to the children. This is in addition to the many hats that she wears. She is the resource room teacher at Washington Rose, the CPSE/CSE chair person, the district webmaster, and the PTA representative in our building. She steps in and helps out when the school secretary is absent. In addition, she makes time to mentor students. Mrs. Rivera never misses an event in the district regardless of the day or the time. When she organized the PTA meeting and invited the children for a reading night, hundreds attended. She always fights for what will benefit all children. She is a big advocate for our students with disabilities. She is simply a wonderful educator and is loved by the students. She deserves this recognition.
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
Gail Rodriguez is very valuable to the lives of all her students and every student that comes into contact with her. Gail serves 5th and 6th grade Special Needs Students in a Mild to Moderate setting that requires great teaching expertise, phenomenal patience, and a passion for fully serving students, families and the community. Her students receive excellent instruction academically, socially and emotionally, and in core values that will serve them now and in the future.
Gail’s students face many challenges in life and in school and Gail makes sure they have support on all levels. In addition to planning and giving in depth instruction Gail meets with students, parents, advocates, specialists, and the administrator to ensure students receive services, all available supports even including feeding her students when she knows they are hungry and in need. Gail is generous, caring, and an amazing team player that serves some of our neediest students. In addition she serves students who are not in her class as her ability to build trust, calm kids, and motivate them to learn is extraordinary. This year I have seen Gail turn kids around, increase their capacity for collaboration and learning, and transform their behavior. Gail is a remarkable teacher and her students love and respect her. She has provided them with the tools to move forward into Middle School and be successful.
BRONX, NEW YORK
Dr. Elaine Ruiz Lopez emphatically believes that growing up in a disadvantaged community is not an excuse for a school to underserve its students. The International Leadership Charter High School has been consistently recognized by US NEWS & World Report: Best High Schools from 2013 through 2017 for the student achievement outcomes for graduation rates and performance on NYS Regents exams. Among the charter schools’ achievements, 95% of the scholars continuously enrolled, have graduated within 4 years and 100% of our graduates have received numerous acceptance letters to the College of their choice. The International Leadership Charter High School has sustained an average 95% graduation rate with a Regents Diploma since 2012 through 2017. As an urban educator for more than twenty years, Dr. Elaine Ruiz Lopez was witness to a vicious cycle of poverty, abysmal academic achievement, and alarming high school dropout rates for Latino and African-American students in New York City’s public schools. In 2003, the New York City graduation rate for African-American and Latino students was less than 54%, and the social and economic future for our youth was bleak. This cycle motivated Dr. Ruiz Lopez to develop the first community grown charter high school in the Bronx with a mission to deliver an academically rigorous college preparation model with high academic expectations in a no excuses model. Driven by her desire to provide a viable option for a world class education for families throughout the Bronx, Dr. Ruiz Lopez founded the International Leadership Charter High School in 2005 after several years of intense planning and preparation. Her experiences in the neighborhoods in where she was raised and later served as a community organizer and activist, also contributed to the birth of the vision and journey to create International Leadership Charter High School. As a first-generation Puerto Rican, Elaine was born and raised in the South Bronx during the peak of the Civil Rights movement, where she experienced first-hand the many challenges faced by working class and ethnic families, such as racial and economic inequalities, poor educational opportunities, and inadequate healthcare. Her childhood was also marked by the assassination of such leaders as Dr. Martin Luther King and President John F. Kennedy. On a local level, Dr. Ruiz Lopez experienced the epidemic of “slumlords” burning down neighborhood buildings for insurance money, including two of the buildings I lived in with my parents and siblings. Reflections of the experience that she lived through are famously documented in several books and movies in the 80’s and present day such as Paul Newman’s “Fort Apache”; “Down These Mean Streets” by Piri Thomas; and “The Bronx is Burning” a documentary”.
Throughout her life, however, education has remained the highest priority both as a teacher and as a lifelong learner. After graduating from high school, Dr. Ruiz Lopez enrolled in CUNY, attending the City College of New York until earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a concentration in Bilingual Education. While finishing her degree at CCNY, she taught in the South Bronx. Dr. Ruiz Lopez also earned a Master of Science in Special Education from Bank Street College of Education and a Doctoral Degree in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Dr. Elaine Ruiz Lopez emphatically believes that growing up in a disadvantaged community is not an excuse for a school to underserve its students. The International Leadership Charter High School has been consistently recognized by US NEWS & World Report: Best High Schools from 2013 through 2017 for the student achievement outcomes for graduation rates and performance on NYS Regents exams. Amongst the school’s achievements, 95% of the scholars continuously enrolled, have graduated within 4 years and 100% of our graduates have received numerous acceptance letters to the College of their choice. The International Leadership Charter High School has sustained an average 95% graduation rate with a Regents Diploma since 2012 through 2017. The International Leadership Charter High School Changing Lives and Transforming Communities one scholar at a time.
3RD GRADE TEACHER
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Despite working at a school with a 99% title one percentage Ms. Sandoval consistently has students passing SBAC assessments with meets and above standard. She implements engaging strategies that immerse the students in hands-on learning. She spends countless hours creating and improving her dynamic lessons as well as investing her own money to ensure she has the materials that will make the lesson and thus the students successful. She truly cares for and about her students and fosters character growth as well as academic growth. When it comes to a value-added approach no one is more effective than Ms. Sandoval. Ms. Sandoval is so dedicated that she adopted a young lady named Magaly Gastelum, whom she met while teaching at Park Ave. Elementary school. She nurtured, guided and raised Magaly for 10 yeas, 6 of which Magaly lived in her home. Magaly graduates in May from UC Santa Cruz. None of this would be possible without the kindness and dedication of Ms. Sandoval. Ms. Sandoval is truly changing the world one class and one student at a time. She is a dedicated professional with 20 years of teaching experience all at the same school. I highly recommend her for your award.
2ND GRADE TEACHER
BRONX, NEW YORK
Yanira Sandoval is a selfless educator. I have seen her sacrifice her time in order to assure her students are getting the best education. She is doing so much more than teaching the standard elementary school subjects, she is raising leaders. When I walk in her room I see students leading lessons, supporting each other, and working as a community of one. Her data reflects her hard work and determination as majority of her students are on or above grade level in reading. She is patient and kind and provides each student with individualized support. Lastly, Yanira is a team player and is always willing to help and support her team where ever she can.
Creating value for someone or in someone’s life starts with the relationship you build with them. Lindsay has built innumerable & immeasurably powerful relationships with students across our campus and particularly in her grade level. Her relationship with these students has created the environment and space for the students to be more boldly and truly themselves & allows them to rise to the occasion, meeting the standard of excellence she has set for them because they are comfortable taking the risks necessary to succeed. She is a light in a number of students’ lives – bringing joy and laughter with her wherever she goes, as she treks up and down the halls to the various classrooms where she teaches. She is passionate, kind, intentional in her words, planning, and teaching. She seeks the best from all of her students, and she is consistently willing to collaborate, make adjustments, and do whatever it takes for her students to succeed.
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT SUPPORT COUNSELOR
Ms. Sifflet is a passionate counselor that connects with all of the students that cross her path in the most tender and supportive way. This year we had a student go into a Ketoacidosis coma with grim concerns for his future. From the beginning of his entrance to the hospital , she actively engaged with his entire family expressing concern for his well-being as well as the family’s emotional and financial support needs through that difficult process. In addition to this, she actively looked for outlets to obtain resources for the family and assisted in organizing a Go Fund Me account to aid in hospital fees. If that wasn’t enough, she organized a school-wide competition to get students involved by asking them to donate money in competition form for the teacher they’d like to see get their head shaved the most. This was a great success! Fortunately, the student recovered from his condition and was able to return to school. Due to her proactive planning to ensure he would have all the proper supports he needed to be successful, the student was able to return to an environment of sustenance that has allowed him to finish out his year successfully and he will be entering his senior year for the 2018-2019 school year. Ms. Sifflet deserves the most valuable professional in a student’s life award because she has a spirit of service and a true desire to help all the students that she encounters. All the while, she works tirelessly and consistently in this spirit of service with total humility and smile.
3RD GRADE MATH TEACHER
PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS
Because she TRULY goes above and beyond to help her students learn the math skills to be successful. She works in a school district where 99% of the students eat free breakfast and lunch. A lot of the students are still homeless from Harvey, but she makes it her number one priority to make them feel like their classroom is home away from home. If they need personal items like shoes, uniforms, etc. she will make sure they get it. She gives them manipulatives for math to take home and use because she knows her kids can’t afford them. She truly loves teaching and her students…..teaching is her passion.
BRONX, NEW YORK
Principal Sorden has done an incredible job at creating a school environment at P.S. 359 where core values and high expectations have played decisive factors for the constant successes the school have achieved since it was founded.
Mrs Sowells is the most valuable person in a child’s life because she goes above and beyond for her students on a regular basis. Mrs Sowells always puts in great effort in preparing lesson that are culturally appropriate and relevant to her students to prepare them for life outside of North Central. Mrs Sowells does not make it easy for her students to achieve which is much needed in our society. Students may initially seem to bite back at her for it, but they in turn receive valuable information and timely feedback in a way that students can see their own improvement. Mrs Sowells is very consistent with her process and results show in her students’ achievement as well as her own.
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
From the time the school day starts to the time it ends, Anne’s full attention and devotion is to her student. She is always moving around and working with students. She tries her hardest each and every day to be a support for a child in need. She has bought clothes for needy children, stayed after school to help kids with homework, and been there to talk with them when they are going through something in their lives. Anne is truly wonder, and I think she would be an excellent candidate for this award.
Cecilie took a very trouble little boy into her first grade class and has worked miracles with this child. Mrs. Stuelpe worked closely with the e child’s family and the school staff to advocate for this child. As a result of Cecilie’s work this boy has changed from an angry and aggressive child to a curious and funny little boy who is enjoying school and life. Cecilie was optimistic about this boy’s potential and worked to bring about profound changes in this child.
ROOSEVELT, NEW YORK
Mrs. Swanson goes above and beyond her duties on a daily basis to ensure the students of our school district are receiving the full benefit of an education. She takes time out of her personal life to teach students how to take public transportation before they graduate so they can be confident while attending college or working in other cities. An abundance of notes can be found around her office, or on the chalk board, left by students who just want to remind her that she’s loved, appreciated, and the best at what she does. She is one of those educators that stays in contact with graduates, often assisting them with applications and connecting them to resources to keep them advancing in life. Working in the field of Special Education can be very challenging but Mrs. Swanson continues to be the perfect example of an educator that serves the students with every ounce of her being. I’d like to nominate her as the “Most Valuable Person in the Life of a Student” to remind her that her efforts do not go unnoticed. She continues to give 200% without second thought and this award is well deserved!
Alicia has worked at YES Prep for 7 years, previously as the MS counselor and now as the HS counselor. She has been a pillar of support for students and continuously seeking resources to meet student’s needs. Most recently, with disaster relief efforts, she has coordinated with local organizations to provide relief for families devastated by the flood in Houston. She notably collaborated with Rolando Rodriguez, owner of Trill Multicultural, to organize a shopping spree with celebrities. The 3 students have an established relationship with Ms. Thomas and she recognized there high-need and surprised the deserving students with this opportunity. This is one instance of how Ms. Thomas goes above and beyond for the students at YES Prep. She is phenomenal and does all of this nurturing work with gratitude and grace.
This guidance counselor is amazing. He is our lighthouse leader for the school. He leads morning meetings for classes and miles leadership development for all of our students. He works diligently with our most at risk students who are in foster homes or homeless to ensure they are receiving support at school and advocates for them with social services to receive help for housing, etc. He is faithful and dedicated to their needs both social and emotional.
Corrie provides unlimited support to a male student in our middle school each and every day. Her support covers every aspect of this student’s life from home to school.
She is the most valuable person to all her students, staff members and parents. She is sweet, kind and loves everyone she is around. This year has been difficult with flooding damage which resulted with our campus being split. But, she has been an awesome leader to both campuses which are temporary located across town from each other. She is very close to her staff and all the children whom she knows by name! Ms. Tripplett is the most professional leader I’ve had the opportunity to work with in a long time. We are blessed to have her in our lives!
As a teacher Ms. VanNatta is the most valuable person in the life of many students, but her work, her dedication, and her caring style really stood out with two students in particular. These two students face significant challenges in the school setting, one is visually impaired and the other is in a wheelchair. Ms. VanNatta has not only made sure these students were given every opportunity to grow and develop as students, she also made sure they had the chance to be a part of the class to grow socially and emotionally. Ms. VanNatta’s inclusive style helped these two students thrive in school this year despite the challenges the they face every day! Ms. VanNatta maintained high expectations for each of her students and she planned lessons and activities that allowed all of her students to be a part of the learning process.
ELEM MUSIC SPECIALIST
Giselle is a vivacious music educator who gives her all for her students. This year, she has challenged her students to produce multiple musical productions, compete in Music Memory (and win) at the district level, and collaborate with visual arts to put on various programs. She is a “grow your own” teacher who went to Waco ISD schools and is now giving back by teaching in the district. She is involved in the community through various activities and co-coordinates her campus UIL Academic team.
Mrs. Virgi is the most valuable person in the lives of many students! Mrs. Virgi serves students and staff members as an elementary school counselor. She supports families and welcomes them to our building, she takes care social emotional needs, she is a member of our Attendance Intervention Team, she serves as a mentor for students, she helped coordinate a building wide social-emotional curriculm, the list could go on and on… The reason Mrs. Virgi is deserving of this recognition is because she supports our students, our staff, and our community by providing support, counseling, resources, time, energy, and heart. She genuinely cares about the well-being of people. She goes out of her way to ensure our students are safe, cared for, and taken care of in and out of school. She supports families in a professional, child-centered way. Our students and families are lucky to have Mrs. Virgi!
Mr. White cares deeply for his students and remains their mentor beyond the classroom and into their future lives. He remains a guiding light for many of the students who have tough lives and gives them hope to continue in their education and have a positive life. I believe he has is an asset to the education system. Being an educator is not just a job for him it is his life’s work and calling. (NOMINATED BY STUDENT)
We are so thankful to have Mr. Williams at our school! He is the most valuable person in the life of many students for a variety of reasons. He helps kids aim high academically, behaviorally, and social-emotionally. He provides a fun yet challenging learning experience for his students. He sets high expectations from the very beginning of school. He provides differentiated learning and many interventions to help his kids succeed. He goes above and beyond to help kids who are struggling in a certain area. Mr. Williams is also great about celebrating student successes when the students reach their goals. He accommodates challenging behaviors by finding what motivates each individual student and building on their successes. He teaches his students how to be respectful, responsible, and peaceful problem solvers each and every day. His students come out of second grade well prepared with the skills they need for a successful third grade year!
CLOVER, SOUTH CAROLINA
Mrs. Wolford has built an impressive career impacting the lives of young people. For the past few years, she has specifically worked with high school seniors. There are countless students that can claim in very real terms that they would not have made it without this wonderful woman. She gets some many kids to the finish line and makes a connection so that students want to succeed for her. I love watching current students and former students visit with Mrs. Wolford to tell her that she is what made the difference in their lives. She is an MVP at our school and should be recognized for her impact on the lives of our youth.
STUDENT FAMILY SUPPORT SPECIALIST
Ms. Zelaya takes time to meet with every eighth grade student to ensure they are accepted into the best high school for them. In addition, Ms. Zelaya supports students at every grade level in their social and emotional development. She also meets with parents to ensure they are aware of the opportunities available for their families in the community. Ms. Zelaya provides agencies that teach different types of classes for both students and parents. She also provides support to our staff in terms of listening and guiding them with personal and/or job related issues. She truly is a passionate advocate for our Amigos for Vida Charter school team.
The Most Valuable Person in the Life of a Student Award (MVP Award) is given to a teacher, counselor, principal, school social worker, or other educator that has made a positive impact in the life of a student. The award is sponsored by Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC (MostValuablePD.com) – a team of veteran educators and mental health professionals that provide training, consulting and webinars for educators. The team specializes in trauma, challenging behaviors, differentiation, student achievement, and school improvement.
The needs of students that have been traumatized has been a central focal point of educators recently. I would like to share a story about Annie to help illustrate the problems faced by traumatized students.
Annie is enduring some major life challenges. She is passed back and forth to different caregivers. Best case scenario is that she believes her mom is very busy. A more likely scenario is that she knows that her mom does not care about her at all does everything possible to have nothing to do with her. Adding to this situation is the fact that the other caregivers don’t care very much for her either. They feed her and put a roof over her head, but they too want very little to do with her. Her home existence is one of little contact with others, no love or support. The little contact she gets is negative reinforcement – which includes a great deal of yelling, frustration, and punishments. She struggles with academics. She struggles with behaviors. She is dying for even the smallest amount of attention, love and kindness. Somehow this student gets out of bed, takes an hour bus ride to school, and walks in the building every day.
Anyone who works with students knows an Annie. What does Annie need? Can a school provide the necessary care? What does Annie’s future look like? Are there more students like Annie now than there were in the past?
These are all important questions. I believe the most important thing that Annie needs is love and hope for the future. If Annie can visualize a better future, she has a chance to rise above her current circumstances. As educators, it is so important for us to help her in the now and prepare her for the future. You have the amazing power to be able to positively impact the life of a student. I challenge you to see past the tough exterior and help your own Annie!
Dr. Bryan Pearlman is the founder and head trainer at Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC (MostValuablePD.com). Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC, provides trainings and workshops in schools all over the country. They also provide online webinars. The company focuses on trauma, behaviors, differentiation, student achievement, and school improvement. To discuss your training needs, please contact Dr. Bryan Pearlman at 314-323-7340, bryan@MostValuablePD.com, or www.MostValuablePD.com.
Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC (mostvaluablepd.com) recently led a workshop at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. The focus was on helping students with mental health concerns to succeed in school. The training was led by Dr. Bryan Pearlman, EdD (educator) and Rebecca Dougherty, LCSW (therapist). The audience included university professors, school counselors, school social workers, and teachers.
The training addressed specific issues related to stress, anxiety, depression, oppositional behaviors, ADHD, trauma, school phobia, perfectionism, and attachment disorders. These are often items that interfere with a student’s ability to access curriculum and to reach their potential. This training provided many hands-on and research-based strategies and interventions that will help to support the student.
Dr. Bryan Pearlman describes the importance of providing trainings to educators, “The number of students with mental health concerns in school is growing at a very rapid pace. Teachers, principals, counselors, and social workers need effective tools and information to help all students to succeed in school. It is an honor for us to provide trainings and workshops for those individuals that work directly with children and teens.”
Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC (mostvaluablepd.com) is a St. Louis based business that provides hands-on & research-based professional development, training & consulting services for educators. The business features a team of veteran educators and mental health professionals that are laser-focused on providing tools, strategies, and techniques to improve outcomes for students, teachers, and schools. Trainings and workshops are offered in schools all across the United States and also online in a webinar format for groups of 15 to 300 educators. Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC is currently booking trainings for this summer, back to school, and for the 2018-2019 school year.