On Wednesday mornings, second-grade teacher Lindsay Frevert walks the streets of Somerville, gathering children along the way for Van Derveer Elementary School's weekly "walking school bus." The Walking Wednesdays let students talk with friends and burn some energy before class, and parents feel safe knowing Frevert and her colleagues are watching over their brood on their way to school.
At Van Derveer, a diverse preK-5 school serving more than 900 students in central New Jersey, Frevert teaches children along the entire educational spectrum. She knows what each child needs and accommodates individual learning styles, allowing children to work standing up when appropriate. Frevert's students make great strides. Last year, 67% of the students in her class started out reading below grade level; by January, 78% were reading at or above grade level, climbing to 95% by the end of the school year.
Frevert makes the school community a priority in her life. She has grown Van Derveer's Strawberry Festival into a large event the entire community enjoys. Frevert reads with students before school, organizes Family Literacy Night, tutors students in all grades, serves as site leader at a summer camp in Branchburg, created a variety show for Van Derveer's fourth- and fifth-graders, and is responsible for revitalizing the middle school's softball program. For Community Investment Day, Frevert organized cross-curricular, multi-grade activities throughout the district celebrating students' civic engagement. For her colleagues, Frevert chairs the school's Fostering and Instilling Staff Happiness (FISH) committee and has helped organize events to boost staff morale like the Polar Bear Plunge.
Frevert has made a lasting impact on students' lives. During a schoolwide reading contest modeled after the March Madness tournament, basketball players from Somerville's high school made a video for the younger students in which many named Frevert as the teacher who taught them to love reading. She routinely shows up at plays, concerts, sporting events and award dinners applauding the achievements of her former students.
Frevert connects with families, too. When one student's parent had cancer, Frevert organized a meal schedule for the teachers to provide food for the family. Frevert met daily with another at-risk student whose mother had died to ensure that the student received additional attention. A few years ago, Frevert and a colleague traveled to Minnesota to help a family whose son was ill and receiving treatment there; Frevert, who had taught the boy's older brother, entertained the young patient to give his parents a break. When the family returned to New Jersey, Frevert provided home instruction for the boy until he was strong enough to return to school.
A respected change agent, Frevert advocated for new technology for the school's teacher evaluation system, volunteered to pilot the software, then trained her colleagues on its use. She became the resident expert in a new online literacy resource, adding it to her own instructional repertoire and sharing it with her peers. As a grade-level leader, Frevert has presented at district in-service days on engagement techniques for math instruction, shares her own best practices in the school's Model Classroom video repository, and is frequently requested as a mentor for new teachers.
Frevert earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education and psychology in 2005 and a master's degree in educational leadership in 2010 from The College of New Jersey.
Press release: Making Great Strides: Somerville Second-Grade Teacher Lindsay Frevert Receives $25,000 Milken Educator Award
"I know I'm succeeding as an educator when my students come back and visit me and tell me how successful they are in high school, or..." (read more)