Amy Stanislowski welcomes each of her third graders with a hug at Dodge Literacy Magnet Elementary School. Her warmth is complemented by an ever-expanding portfolio of best practices including well-defined classroom expectations and data notebooks that chart student progress. And students do indeed make progress, scoring well above state averages in reading and math.
In her efforts to tap in to every child’s skills and learning styles, Stanislowski implements creative strategies that spark a lifelong love of learning. Just one example is a “living museum” where students research and create displays about famous people, then write, memorize and deliver speeches about them—a high level of achievement for eight year olds.
In addition to being an innovator in the classroom and the third grade level chairperson, Stanislowski is a valuable mentor to fellow educators. When a new teacher at her school was struggling with classroom management skills, Stanislowski devoted a weekend to coaching her colleague. During the school day, she also took time during her planning periods to give the novice teacher immediate feedback. She serves on the Wichita Quality Teacher Program Leadership Team and is the contact with Wichita State University to provide professional development to pre-service teachers. She also helps place mentor teachers and education students into teams.
Passionate about education’s impact on the future, Stanislowski instills a strong sense of community responsibility in her young charges. After a tornado damaged two schools, she hosted a movie day that raised funds to help the students in the affected schools. And when her class read a story about a little girl in Ghana, she inspired them to raise money to purchase a water buffalo for a family in that African nation. Given the challenging economic conditions of her own students, this was an empowering experience and a life lesson in individual potential.
The Wichita Eagle | Feb 03 , 2015 | Wichita, TX