To Jennifer Olewnik, her teaching methods at Grand Bay Middle School are an open book. Over the years, the reading and reading intervention instructor has helped countless 6th, 7th and 8th grade students improve their literacy skills and comprehension.
In fact, many at-risk students were specifically placed in her classroom because she tailors lessons based on the student’s abilities. By scaffolding reading instruction in class, she has helped students achieve higher scores on testing. Each day, Olewnik inspires confidence in her students’ learning capabilities. During the school’s 25 Book Campaign, she suggested books that met individual students’ interests and skill levels, encouraging them to reach further to improve their literacy skills. The result: 100% of Olewnik’s students read 19 books and 96% went on to complete the 25 Book Campaign challenge. Colleagues point out that her contributions have created a true reading-friendly campus environment.
She’s also helped other language arts teachers develop a curriculum for the study of novels and created a poetry unit to help meet the district’s objective for all 8th grade students to familiarize themselves with the art of poetry. Even more impressive, Olewnik was instrumental in 78% of her students scoring a 4 (“exceeds academic content standards”) on the statewide ARMT Reading Test, and 94% scoring between 3 and 4.
Beyond classroom duties, Olewnik is active within Grand Bay Middle School, as well as the school district. She has been on the language arts textbook adoption committee, the math curriculum writing committee, the school literacy committee, participated in the school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) pilot program, volunteered to update the literacy curriculum, and serves as one of the cheerleading coaches. Whether it’s her commitment to an individual student or an entire classroom, to colleagues at the school or district level, Olewnik’s generous spirit and passion for teaching shine through.
Mobile Press-Register | Feb 18 , 2014 | Mobile, Alabama
WSFA-TV | NBC | Feb 18 , 2014 | Montgomery, Alabama