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Teachers of the Month


















JUNE 2004

June 2004 Outstanding Teachers of the Month

Bonita Bua

P.S. 97 The Forest Park School, Queens
Lucille Cardinale, Principal
Dr. Kathleen Cashin, Superintendent
District 27/Region 5

Student Progress: The students in Mrs. Bua’s class showed progress in their work through ECLAS assessment as well as informal assessment conducted throughout the year in math and literacy. Mrs. Bua keeps a log on each individual student. In her log she writes anecdotes about the performance of each student and uses this to differentiate instruction. As a kindergarten teacher, she embraces each child who enters her classroom and has successfully guided them into a print-rich classroom environment.  Each student is able to reach his or her own personal best regardless of prior school experience.

Innovative Teaching Strategies: Mrs. Bua uses innovative teaching strategies such as adapting curriculum to meet the learning style or interests of each individual student. Some of these strategies include using different materials, book and supplies and making adaptations to the environment. It is important to her that every child finds learning enjoyable and interesting. Mrs. Bua is compassionate and flexible to the needs of her students.

Motivating Students: Mrs. Bua motivates and involves her students in classroom activities by involving the students in the planning and delivery of activities and projects. She plans themes that are of interest to the students and provides activities for many different levels. Hence, students are both engaged and challenged at their level. One example of her thematic planning included the decoration of her classroom as an Egyptian Temple. The lessons included having the students appreciate the art and culture of the ancient world. She made connections to literacy through read aloud and responding to the literature. She had her students write letters using hieroglyphics as other students used a key to translate the meanings.

Parent/Community Involvement: Mrs. Bua is a member of the Woodhaven community and maintains open communication with the parents of the students in her class. She has an open door policy where parents join students on field trips, special events, and during everyday instruction. She works closely with volunteers who read with the children as well as help with other needs. She is available at every conference, is a member of the School Leadership Team, attends PA activities and communicates with parents regularly.

As principal, I truly am delighted to recognize Mrs. Bua as an outstanding educator.

Name of nominator: Lucille Cardinale

Maria Crowe

PS 811Q, Little Neck, NY
Joan Washington, Principal
Dr. Susan Erber, Superintendent
District/Region: 75/3

Student Progress: Maria Crowe is a special education teacher supporting students with severe disabilities in general education classes full time. The students eligible for standardized test-taking have increased their scores by one grade level or more this year.  Ms. Crowe utilizes data-folios for her alternate assessment students highlighting their performance on skills using pre- and post-testing, self-evaluations, informal testing, and observations. Anecdotal evidence is compiled into data showing progress in all subject areas and in socialization.

Innovative Teaching Strategies: Mrs. Crowe’s innovations have no boundaries. Maria has designed several inclusive education adaptations to ensure her students are successful working besides their same-age peers. Mrs. Crowe uses graphic organizers, timers, adapted books, calculators, templates, photographs, timelines, symbols, and more to simplify the work so that her students can understand the what is being presented. She is also a team-teacher, working beside her general education colleagues to get a better handle on all of the students. Mrs. Crowe assists the class with at-risk students not on her roster. She provides the special education techniques of individualized and differentiated instruction as a model for all to use. Mrs. Crowe utilizes sensory integration, manipulatives, yoga, music, and stress management to keep students and staff focused.

Motivating Students: Mrs. Crowe’s adaptations and modifications keep students motivated and on task. When the work is too difficult, she uses fewer words in the vocabulary list and simplifies the stories in a creative, stimulating way. She invites interested parties to visit to see the varied resources she has created for individual students’ needs. When students have problems following the general education guidelines, such as keeping a journal for response to literature, Mrs. Crowe steps in. After mini-lessons she transcribes what the students’ response to the literature is. She encourages the students to verbalize their thoughts, as she records them. The children then read the “sample,” and re-writes it following the format: write, review, edit, type final copy. All of Mrs. Crowe’s teaching is made fun, in the form of games that are hands-on, using the kinesthetic, tactile approach. The intent is always to keep the children interested and engaged.

Parent/Community Involvement: Parents in our school have learned from Maria how to advocate for inclusive education. She invites them to see the success of our students as they participate their everyday classroom activities as well as in Science Fairs, Dance Festivals, Chorus clubs, Art classes, Assemblies, etc. The parents have asked for more information to be presented at Parent-Teacher Association meetings, so they can learn more about inclusive education. The entire school community has now welcomed Mrs. Crowe and her students. The best comments we receive say how one cannot tell the difference between our students and the others without disabilities when they are working together side-by-side!

Name of nominator: Joan Washington, Principal

Angela Florio-Lippe

The Forest Park School-P.S. 97, Queens
Ms. Lucille A. Cardinale, Principal
Dr. Kathleen Cashin, Superintendent
District 27/Region 5

Student Progress: Angela Florio-Lippe is an outstanding fourth grade teacher. Due to the high stakes that the state has placed on students there are many forms of evaluation such as Princeton Review, Kaplan Tests as well as tests administered by the teacher on a weekly basis. These evaluations enabled her to assess the levels of students in the class. Ms. Lippe maintains and updates logs, confers with students and maintains work folders on each child, allowing her to understand the needs of every child.

Innovative Teaching Strategies: In her classroom Ms. Lippe uses a variety of strategies to motivate students. Technology is incorporated whenever possible. She has a “Smart Board” which she won in a district-wide contest for incorporating technology. She uses this technical equipment to demonstrate how to surf the web and highlight and use information for research project.

Motivating Students: Students work on laptop computers with partners to write and edit published pieces. Students are also familiar to working in collaborative groups. For example, they created a database of Olympic Sports, which was then published into a book. She has created an atmosphere in which students are partnered to help each other.

Parent/Community Involvement: She keeps parents involved in her classroom activities by encouraging them to work with their children and help them to attain information needed for classroom themes. Parents are invited on class trips and to participate in classroom theme activities. Ms. Lippe often calls parents and encourages feedback on students’ work and personal issues, which may affect a student’s day. She is always available for visits and partakes in school activities and parent evening meetings.

Name of nominator: Ms. Lucille A. Cardinale, Principal


Mirta Gallego
Name of School: CS 211, Bronx
Mrs. Betty Gonzalez-Soto, Principal
Ms. Laura Rodriguez, Superintendent
Network 7/Region 2

Student Progress: The Early Childhood Literacy Assessment System, the Developmental Reading Assessment, interim benchmark tests, and inventories indicate significant student progress. Student folders in reading, writing, and math also evidence improved student performance.

Innovative Teaching Strategies: Ms. Gallego is a veteran teacher who never stops trying to improve her craft. She uses a multidisciplinary approach to author studies that encourages children to explore the world of literacy. The children really get excited about the extensions introduced. Ultimately, the miracle happens: children read and write. It is her planning and uncanny ability to design new and fun activities for her students that lead to the students’ academic success. Ms. Gallego facilitates learning. She allows for students to apply what they learn. Her room always has student projects in progress. You’ll see quilt making, dioramas, paintings and bookmaking; not all students will be doing the exact same thing because she plans with their strengths and weaknesses in mind. She groups for reading to help students at their instructional level, but she challenges them to excel by providing wonderful activities that are usually thematic.

Motivating Students: Through the years, most of Ms. Gallego’s students have been reading at or above grade level when promoted to 2nd grade. This is due to her brand of teaching: experienced but always willing to incorporate new ideas. Her teaching immerses her students on a daily basis in the activities that result in meeting performance standards. Attendance is always above 90%. The writing produced by the students is amazing. Students talk about legends and folktales. They understand fiction versus nonfiction. They produce cookbooks, letters, poems and retellings. She publishes student work that fills up 4 to 5 boards every month.

Parent/Community Involvement: Ms. Gallego talks to parents on an ongoing basis. She starts by sending a letter to her September parents in June. Her practice is to inform parents of what is expected of their children from the very beginning. She feels children are only as successful as parents will help them to be. She teaches any parent that will listen how to work with their child. At times, she’ll have a parent attend class to observe the routines. Her belief is that parents have to help with discipline so that children can learn. Ms. Gallego is an amazing teacher!

Name of nominator: Margarita Rodriguez, Literacy Coach

Steve Goldring

P.S.95, Queens
Dr. Aura Gangemi, Principal
Ms. Judith Chin, Superintendent
District 29/Region 3

Student Progress: Our children have performed on Broadway, Rockefeller Center (A Christmas Carol), at Annual Conferences (NYS Association of Bilingual Educators; JFK International Airport Annual Hispanic Cultural Celebration) and numerous other sites with pride and a full sense of accomplishment.

The children in our building are 90-95% immigrants or children of immigrants—their diverse cultural backgrounds are highlighted and supported by the music and the presentations that occur under Mr. Goldring’s tutelage. As a result he is beloved & respected by the entire community.

Due to his innovative style and teaching skills, the children have learned to read music and sing in three-part harmony. These exercises in learning have enriched the reading, writing and comprehensive skills of both the children in the chorus and those that perform at the weekly assembly programs.

Innovative Teaching Strategies: He is always working with the chorus during his lunch, his prep periods, before school in large groups as well as small groups.

Chaperoning and preparing our children as they perform on Broadway, Rockefeller Center (“A Christmas Carol”) and other venues outside of the school setting.

Promotes the enthusiastic celebration of the multicultural nature of our school and our children.

Created and promoted an annual Flag Day Celebration that promoted patriotism for the entire school.

Through his research, he has brought to our community the newest music as well as new arrangements to old favorites, i.e. Star Spangle Banner, new Bengali/Indian music and Latin music.

Motivating Students: Helps promote self-esteem and success through participation in numerous performances in our school and in public (Senior Citizens Center)

Promotes the linkage of multiple classes for weekly assembly programs where the Kindergarten to Grade 5 perform plays, skits and musicals.

Parent/Community Involvement: Creating/organizing, promoting and accompanying all acts at our Winter & Spring Concerts.

Creating/organizing promoting and accompanying all acts at our June Staff Talent Show.

Promoting and linking our children to cultural events where the children perform (i.e. NYS Association of Bilingual Educators annual conference; JFK International Airport Hispanic Celebrations—annually; Invited participants for the Annual Martin Luther King Celebration at the Queensborough Public Library; Holiday visits with the Eastwood International Children’s Chorus to Senior Citizens Center)

Name of nominator: Dr. Aura Gangemi, Principal


Patricia Sibley
P.S.140, Queens
Elaine Brittenum, Principal
Harold Wilson, LIS, Superintendent
District/Region: 28Q/3

Student Progress: Mrs. Sibley’s Technology Club is definitely a group on the move. The students’ essays and interviewing skills are reflected in their bi-monthly school-wide newsletters. The students enjoy interviewing staff for their newsletter article; the research columns are less than spectacular—I have learned much from their research.

The children are confident, independent and ambitious in doing an expert job.

Innovative Teaching Strategies: Mrs. Sibley and her Technology Club wanted to participate in the upcoming AIDS walk-a-thon and wrote a grant for Newsday Future Corps. They were rewarded with the grant and are now participants in the May 16, 2004 AIDS walk-a-thon sponsored by NYC. This is the club’s 2nd grant from Newsday Future Corps. Patricia was a winner in SY 2002-2003. She recently met someone from Verizon and persuaded him to adopt P.S. 140’s Technology Club. Kudos!

Motivating Students: The Technology Club produces their own school-wide newsletters; participating in the NYC AIDS walk-a-thon and looking for more pledges. The Duke-a-teers are walking May 16,2004 under the direction of Mrs.Sibley,parents and staff.

Parent/Community Involvement: Mrs. Sibley offers technology workshop on Saturdays to the parent community. She instructs parents in: Power Point, Hyperstudio, creating web pages, etc. The workshops are agents to bond the parent community as they learn and collaborate.

Name of nominator: Elaine Brittenum

Pat Sturm

The Forest Park School - P.S. 97, Queens
Ms. Lucille A. Cardinale, Principal
Dr. Kathleen Cashin, Superintendent
District 27/Region 5

Student Progress: Ms. Strum uses innovative teaching strategies in her classroom. She has created a database for students to record research information. She facilitates the use of computers to differentiate instruction. Ms. Sturm coaches students through the process of creating slide shows of their work. She integrates life skills into the curriculum as well as enriching the lives of students who have created special items for loved ones. In addition, her students create books for the kindergarten students to read. She heads a school biography fair every year where students on all grade levels are encouraged to come to school dressed as their favorite person in history and allow other students to interview them.

Innovative Teaching Strategies: Student progress is showed by comparing scores on Princeton Review Tests, Kaplan Tests, and ECLAS assessments. Students are also evaluated on a daily basis through running records in reading and teacher created tests given after completing various units of study. Throughout the year work is collected in work folders so progress can be seen on a regular basis.

Motivating Students: In Ms. Sturm’s class, student motivation was evident at the recent biography fair held to honor famous Americans. After extensive research, students dressed as their chosen famous person, signed autographs and answered questions from the entire school and invited guests. Students’ motivation is also evident in their current study of Ireland. When visitors enter the classroom they are greeted with “Failte” welcome in Gaelic. She was also the winner of “Readers are Leaders” challenge for the best book reports in third grade where highly motivated students are identified.

Parent/Community Involvement: During Penny Harvest parents and children collected pennies with their children and donated the proceeds to charity. The class was awarded the “Common Cents NY Grant” for buddy reading and the creation of student made books for kindergarten.  In addition, during the biography fair parents sewed costumes and invited the entire community to attend. During the Marathon she involved parents to participate.  Both students marched in October to raise money for the March of Dimes. For City Harvest, the class and their parents collected over 200 cans of food.

Ms. Sturm is an outstanding educator who is a lifelong learner. She continues to grow as a professional and is an asset to Public School 97.

Name of nominator: Ms. Lucille A. Cardinale

Shirley Wang

Marathon School, PS 811, Queens
Joan Washington, Principal
Dr. Susan Erber, Superintendent
District 75

Student Progress: Shirley’s eye for detail was a tremendous asset in the classroom. In addition to anticipating the needs of the students, she was able to anticipate the teacher’s needs. Her superb organizational skills contributed to a well-run classroom; a notebook, hat or mitten rarely went missing. This was such a help to the classroom teacher who was confident in the knowledge that instructional and hygiene supplies were always available for use. Shirley’s extraordinary artistic talent is another of her strengths. Among other talents, she was accomplished in the art of paper cutting and could take a student’s abstract rendering in paint/crayon to help create a very special bulletin board.

Innovative Teaching Strategies: From her first day at work Shirley showed herself to be a dedicated and conscientious individual. But, it is her patience and meticulousness that are so outstanding. Shirley was superbly skilled at teaching our most physically challenged students to feed themselves. She carried out dysphasia programs for children having difficulty swallowing, under the direction of school therapists, with dedication and loving care. She took her time, first ensuring that her student was positioned optimally in his/her wheelchair, making the necessary adjustments as needed, setting up all the student’s mealtime equipment, making sure that student was relaxed, and finally following proper feeding techniques demonstrated by either classroom teacher, speech, occupational or physical therapists. Shirley never rushed her students. Instead, she allowed her students to take all the time they needed to finish their meals even if it meant that she remained in the cafeteria or the classroom with a student long after all others proceeded to the next activity. Shirley was totally engaged with whichever student she worked with, no matter his/her level of disability. Similarly, Shirley took no shortcuts when toileting her students, ensuring that all buttons were buttoned, wrinkled undershirts smoothed out, and all belts and straps reattached precisely.

Motivating Students: Shirley was educated and worked as a trained architect in Mainland China for many years. She left China during the oppression of the Cultural Revolution for the freedom of America. Upon her arrival in this country Shirley supported her family by cleaning houses while she was learning English. When her English skills were sufficient, she gratefully accepted a position as paraprofessional in our school.

Parent/Community Involvement: Her kindness and genuine affection for our students were made evident in the way Shirley worked with our student’s day in and day out. Despite her advanced age (72) and arthritis, Shirley would gladly aid in lifting even heavy children in and out of their wheelchairs. Despite her hearing impairment, she would never get frustrated. Despite her intelligence and abilities she cheerfully performed all tasks asked of her.

Name of nominator: Joan Washington, Principal, Sandi Mattes-Schwartz, Teacher, Mark Shifter, Teacher #



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