At New Emerson Elementary School in West Mifflin, teacher Cathy S. Crosby prepares kindergarteners academically, socially and emotionally for first grade and beyond. Teaching students with diverse backgrounds and ability levels, including many special education students, Mrs. Crosby uses cooperative learning groups, learning centers and computers to help students learn as much from themselves and from each other as from her. She invites students' family members into the classroom during "Occupation Month," where they share their experiences with students and help make connections between academics and real life. Mrs. Crosby was integral in helping the school implement a grant for its Read to Succeed program and volunteered as an instructor at evening workshops to help teach parents about the program. She was recently recognized as one of the top 100 teachers in western Pennsylvania by The Teacher Excellence Center.