Second-grade teacher Jennifer Svans has helped a diverse array of students improve their learning at Kerr Elementary School in Mesa, Arizona. Described by colleagues as a creative risk-taker, Svans combines a thorough analysis of assessment data with differentiated instruction, best practices and a deep knowledge of standards to connect with students whose challenges include poverty, English as a second language and autism. Her active, hands-on lessons help students make connections that last a lifetime, and her excellent classroom management skills enable learning to take place in individual, small-group and whole-group settings. She modifies the pace of her teaching in response to how students are responding to each lesson, and she and her teaching team use current methodologies such as curriculum mapping to enhance instruction. Svans and her team have developed a process for setting individual students' learning goals by examining past years' assessment data to determine where they are academically and where they can be by the end of the year. Her students have exceeded school and district averages in reading on state-mandated assessments and have demonstrated substantial growth on DIBELS assessments. She is a member of the school leadership team, participates on the School Improvement Advisory Council (SIAC) and has served on various committees, including yearbook, staff support, PTO and the talent show. Svans serves as the school's assessment coordinator and has mentored several fellow teachers.
2000 Ottawa University-Phoenix Center, B.A.