North Butler Community Schools is proud to announce that Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Laura Tracy was a runner up for the 2016 Excellence in Education Award, given annually by the Iowa State Education Association.
Laura is a hard working, dedicated educator who is one of the first to arrive and last to leave on a daily basis. She was nominated for this award by parents Scott and Billie Buss, who have a son in Mrs. Tracy’s classroom. Mrs. Tracy has worked for the Greene/North Butler Community School’s since the fall of 1989.
Below is an excerpt from the nomination letter that Mr. and Mrs. Buss wrote;
It is my distinct pleasure and honor to nominate Mrs. Laura Tracy, Kindergarten teacher, for the Excellence in Education Award in recognition of her outstanding academic innovations and tireless efforts in educating students in the North Butler School District. Mrs. Tracy goes above and beyond on a daily basis to ensure that her students excel in her classroom and at home. From day one of receiving her class list for the 2015-16 school year, she made my son and every other student’s education a priority.
Communication with parents and ensuring their involvement with their child’s academic growth is one of Mrs. Tracy’s priorities. She texts important reminders and sends out weekly newsletters that include pictures of what the students did that week in class, as well as important class and school information. Along with this newsletter, she includes a learning activity or game with materials and reading homework on Fridays. These activities reinforce what they learned in their math, reading, and science lessons that week. Most importantly though, is her teaching style and demeanor with the students. It is her number one asset. She creates a safe learning environment which brings out the best in her students. She effectively meets with students one-on-one or in small groups daily, which ensures learning for ALL students. When I read with my son at home, he is phonetically sounding out words he does not know and has a pretty good accuracy rate at saying the word correctly. This is definitely not something he learned overnight or in a large group setting with 21 students. Learning, and mastery of it is happening in her classroom. At conferences she shares a standard-based report card, which is in addition to the district report card. It documents which learning targets have been mastered, and which ones are a work-in-progress. Students take ownership in their learning, and are proud to share their learning to audiences outside their classroom.
This year, our elementary decided not to have an Elementary Christmas Program. Mrs. Tracy took it upon herself to put together a Winter Program in her room. Students learned and sang songs, played instruments, and did reciting of written work they had done in class. Parents were invited for an hour program that she held in her room during the school day. For those parents who could not attend, she recorded the program and posted in on her website for them to watch. It is the “little things” that Mrs. Tracy does that makes learning so memorable. She makes the students feel like people who matter and not “just students” in her class.
This veteran teacher does not let technology hinder her effectiveness in classroom. In fact, she embraces it, and is one of the most innovative users of educational technology in our district. She continues to move forward with her teaching practices for the 21st century learner. It is difficult for me to even describe how amazing the digital portfolio is. She is constantly recording and scanning student work and sharing it in their digital portfolios. The amount of time she puts into each of her 21 students’ portfolios outside of the regular school day to keep parents informed of where their child is at academically is amazing. Her classroom has a theme where all students are considered “Explorers in Learning” and this is how she makes learning fun for students and ensures that they are vested in their learning.
I would like to thank Mrs. Tracy for her hard work and dedication to the students and families of the North Butler Community Schools. It is an honor for us to have a teacher of Laura’s caliber working with our children.
I would also like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Buss for taking the time to nominate Mrs. Tracy for the Excellence in Education award.
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