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Monday, 4/27/2015

Winter 2015 Staff Appreciation



Nominee:  Ms. Jackie Wharfield, 5th Grade Teacher - Crothers
Nominated by:  Marie Berndt, Parent
Nominated for:  Relationships

I would like to nominate Ms. Wharfield for the Staff Appreciation Award because she was a tremendous help to our daughter and our family during her 5th grade year 2013-2014.  Our daughter struggled most of the year with getting her work done, turning it in and completing homework assignments.  It wasn’t until March that she was diagnosed with ADHD and put on medication, which made a difference.  I would e-mail Ms. Wharfield daily, sometimes multiple times, to keep Emma on track.  Ms. Wharfield always responded quickly and was always very encouraging.  Thanks to Ms. Wharfield’s tireless efforts, never ending dedication and constant encouragement, our daughter is now thriving at Wolfe.  Her first card marking she had 4 A’s, 2 B’s and NO missing or late assignments…a drastic improvement from 5th grade!  I truly believe Emma would not be as successful as she is if it weren’t for Ms. Wharfield.


Nominee:  Stacey Cronin, English Language Learners’ Teacher - Roose
Nominated by:
Nominated for:  Innovation

 Stacey is the English Language Learners’ teacher at Roose Elementary.  Stacey contributed to organizing an English Language Development Reference Folder for Center Line teachers.  The information contained in the folder assists teachers in identifying the language abilities of their English language learners and it provides helpful resources to differentiate instruction for these students.

Stacey presented Model Performance Indicators (MPIs) to the staff at a Culturally Responsive professional learning meeting.  The examples presented and modeled will be helpful when constructing WIDA Consortium English Language Development Standards.

Stacey's tireless professional dedication to Center Line Public Schools really does make things better for the students and staff in the district.

Nominee:  Mrs. Marge Doebler, Special Needs Aide - Roose
Nominated by:  Tracy Demars, Parent
Nominated for:  Relationships

I would like to nominate Mrs. Marge for Staff Appreciation.  Mrs. Marge is a Special Needs Aide in Mrs. Miller’s first grade classroom.  Mrs. Marge was out on leave during December 2014.  While out on leave, she knitted Mrs. Miller’s first grade class scarves and gave each child a pair of gloves.  Each child got a unique homemade scarf and a pair of gloves.  All the children were excited to receive this special gift.  It’s nice to see the kids wearing the gifts Mrs. Marge gave them especially since its cold outside.  My daughter loves her new scarf and gloves.  Thank you, Mrs. Marge, for all you do and your gift of warmth in a time of need.

Nominee:  Ms. Amy Galczyk, 2nd Grade Teacher - Roose
Nominated by:  Anne Huxley and Shannon Quigley, 2nd Grade Teachers
Nominated for:  Relationships

Being new to 2nd grade, we both appreciate the degree to which Amy has extended herself to share, explain, listen and collaborate.  Amy’s willingness to collaborate almost daily has helped create a cohesive 2nd grade team!!  Both teachers and students benefit from Amy’s dedication to her craft.

Nominee:  Mr. Steve Haney, CLIMb Teacher - Roose
Nominated by:  Mazie and Christy Knoblock, Student/Parent
Nominated for:  Relationships and Innovations

Mr. Haney is a great teacher!  He comes up with “different” fun ideas for the kids’ learning experience.  He is not only nice to all the kids, he also has a strict side, which is needed in classrooms to get the kids to listen and be respectful.  I wish there were more like him!

Nominee:  Fardusee Jaigirdar, ELL Parapro - Roose
Nominated by:  Christa McKinley, Resource Room Teacher
Nominated for:  Relationships

Fardusee Jaigirdar works with our English Learners (ELs) at Roose.  Fardusee is dedicated to consistently helping our Roose students successfully complete their classroom assignments.

Students respond positively to her explicit and thorough instruction.  Fardusee sets high expectations for each individual student and students strive to meet these expectations.

Fardusee attends building meetings and participates at IEPs as an interpreter.  As an interpreter at IEPs, Fardusee is sensitive to students’ learning differences and her communication skills are greatly appreciated by our Center Line parents and students.  Thank you, Fardusee Jaigirdar, for your dedication and hard work!

Nominee:  Mrs. Kelli Herrick and Mrs. Brenda Tippery, Kindergarten Teachers - Roose
Nominated by:  Jane Bourget, 3rd Grade Teacher
Nominated for:  Innovation

An innovative school-wide behavioral plan that is fun?  Who thought of that?  I would like to nominate Kelli Herrick and Brenda Tippery for the Staff Appreciation Award for Innovation.

Kelli Herrick is a very dedicated teacher at Roose Elementary School.  She, along with fellow Kindergarten teacher, Brenda Tippery, has designed an innovative program called Roose Rocketeers.  The idea stemmed from Center Line’s “Mix It Up Day”.  Roose staff meets monthly with a group of students from various grade levels and classrooms.  This group of students will remain together for their years at Roose with the same crew leader.

Rocketeers has evolved to incorporate several components that Center Line Schools supports.  Rocketeers not only develops a sense of school pride by fostering relationships between grade levels, but also encompasses the teaching of LIFESKILLS and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

On their own time, Kelli and Brenda spend several hours developing interesting lessons for teachers and staff to use with their Rocketeer group.  The original lessons are a fun way to teach students about LIFESKILLS, such as Initiative, Acceptance and Responsibility.  Some of the innovative ways to teach these LIFESKILLS include watching music videos, listening to story books, brainstorming, and acting out scenarios.  One lesson on Cooperation even involved having students work together to keep an inflated balloon in the air!  Because these lessons vary and involve activities for students who are auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, and visual learners, students are truly engaged.

Another component of the Roose Rocketeers program is supporting PBIS.  Kelli and Brenda have come up with creative ways to celebrate students who have had a successful month.  Monthly incentives have included ice cream sundaes, making banners and a baseball game.  This month’s theme was on Acceptance, and the incentive was listening to and meeting students from Center Line’s own Rising Stars Academy.

The Roose Rocketeer program is making Roose a better school by fostering positive relationships and behavior among students.  We would not have such a fun program without the energy and creative efforts of Kelli Herrick and Brenda Tippery!

Nominee:  Mrs. Brenda Tippery and Mrs. Kelli Phillips-Herrick, Kindergarten Teachers - Roose
Nominated by:  Jackie Feldman and Carrie Miller, 1st Grade Teachers
Nominated for:  Innovation

We would like to nominate Brenda Tippery and Kelli Phillips-Herrick for a Staff Appreciation award.  These two amazing kindergarten teachers and teacher leaders are an invaluable asset to Roose Elementary School.  Their concern and care for students reaches well beyond their classroom.  They have brought the entire school together and developed a sense of community with their vision of Roose Rocketeers.  Once a month the students meet with their Rocketeer crew teacher.  Within a crew, all grade levels are mixed together for a hands-on lesson on life skills.  Tremendous work and planning outside of school time goes into this initiative.  Kelli and Brenda spend countless hours separating students into crews, preparing creative hands-on lesson plans that are developmentally appropriate for all grade levels and distributing materials to the teachers.  Their efforts have made a difference and have developed a true sense of community at Roose.  Students at Roose are enthusiastic and excited for Roose Rocketeer days, and they have developed connections with staff members and students across all grade levels.

In addition to Roose Rocketeers, Kelli and Brenda have put tremendous effort into developing a school-wide behavior management system based on the philosophy of Rick Morris.  This clip chart system is not only a way to manage negative behavior, but it recognizes positive behavior and gives all students a chance to shine.  Every classroom teacher, specials teacher, and para-professional uses the same behavior chart and language.  Kelli and Brenda did a great job providing background information and research with the staff.  They also spent their summer preparing behavior charts and distributing a plan to the teachers.

As if all of that is not enough, Kelli and Brenda make our Reading Month very special at Roose.  Their musical and creative talents give the students motivation to read in a fun, competitive way.  Our incentives have ranged from rock concerts, Olympic Games and home-run derbies.

It is a pleasure to work with Kelli and Brenda.  We want them to know that their hard work is appreciated and valued.  They have created community and consistency at our school.  We are lucky to have two teachers who are completely dedicated to our school.  They have truly made a difference.


Nominee:  Ms. Paula Price, Special Needs Aide - Wolfe
Nominated by:  Laura Phy-Daly, Teacher
Nominated for:  Relationships

I was involuntarily transferred after 24 years of teaching Physical Education, Health and swimming.  My transfer brought me to Wolfe Middle School to teach Social Studies.  On the first day in my new building, I thankfully met Paula Price.  Since that day, Paula has been invaluable in helping me understand and implement the Special Education accommodations required by our students.  She has been so helpful in my transition to the middle school classroom and continues to assist me in meeting the needs of all of our students.

I would like to thank Paula for her encouragement and assistance over the last year.


Nominee:  Mrs. Alicia Mushro, Hall Monitor and Link Crew Co-Sponsor - CLHS
Nominated by:  Ben Gurk, Principal
Nominated for:  Relationships

Mrs. Mushro creates and maintains positive relationships with students and staff members.  She helps lead our Link Crew, which provides support systems for our freshmen.  This past summer, Mrs. Mushro coordinated a beautification project with Link Crew students wherein they planted flowers and shrubbery in front of CLHS.  Mrs. Mushro also helps lead the CLHS Peer Mediation Program wherein students resolve conflict within a safe and structured environment.  This program fits within the restorative justice philosophy as conflicts are often resolved without the need for any additional disciplinary measures.  Mrs. Mushro consistently maintains an optimistic demeanor and significantly impacts the CLHS culture in a positive way.


Nominee:  Maureen O’Connor, Student Support Coordinator – Academy 21
Nominated by:  Nancy Endres, Lead Teacher/Mentor
Nominated for:  Relationships

I nominate Maureen O’Connor, Academy 21 Student Support Coordinator, for the Staff Appreciation award.

Support Coordinator is a very large umbrella in our program.  Every day, Maureen takes the bull by the horn and works with new student orientation, credits, transcripts, testing, consoling, empathizing, and cracked computer screens.  Moe, as we affectionately call her, makes sure that these students are comfortable and have met and interacted with the staff.  She drops everything if a new or present student needs her attention.  There is always someone in her office or outside of her office and Moe is amazingly calm and patient with all.  I might add that parents and staff members receive the same respect and attention.

It’s not unusual to see Maureen eating lunch at the end of the day when the students are gone, and it’s not unusual to find her in her little office at the end of the hall many days until 6-7 p.m.  Give her a call between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.  She is available on certain occasions to talk school business because that’s usually what she’s fretting about in the middle of the night.  I believe that weekends are Moe’s outlet.  She visits her son, Prince Mikey, every other weekend in Chicago.  Of course, Moe is also completely devoted to Michael, Moe’s husband of 40 years.

If anyone wants to experience work ethic in action, visit Maureen’s world at Academy 21 for a few hours absolutely any day of the week.  Immediately, you will see Moe, the dynamo, the one with the positive attitude.  You will hear laughter and encouraging words like “You can do this,” or “Try it and I’ll bet you can make it happen,” or “Look at the progress you have made since September—awesome!”  Don’t get the impression that Moe is a pushover.  When students need a reality check with different issues or they are not keeping up with credit deadlines, Moe will see their mentor and they will devise a plan in an effort to put the student back on track.

Sometimes we think that our first commitment is to paperwork and not the students.  We forget that even though high school students try to act cool, they will respond to kindness and very poorly to its absence.  Being kind and loving are untouchable traits, but they are felt in that little office at the end of the hall.

I believe Erma Bombeck, American humorist and newspaper columnist from the 70’s and 80’s, had Maureen O’Connor in mind when she wrote:

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say, “I used everything you gave me.”

Congratulations, Maureen!