The four teachers - (left to right) Michelle Andersen, Tammy Botten, Karlin Jacoby, and Rebecca Hoey - were nominated for the award by the school administration and the district-wide staff development committee.
Middle school principal Deb Gillman (pictured below) was one of 15 principals recognized for completing the Principal Leadership Academy.
The awards are sponsored by the Resource Training and Solutions of St. Cloud. They provide school districts the opportunity to recognize staff members for their work, said superintendent Howard Caldwell.
This is the ninth year for the awards, but the first time Paynesville has nominated anyone. "The teachers did an excellent job in developing new programs for the district," Caldwell said. "The programs will be a long lasting contribution to the district and deserve special recognition," he added.
Botten and Andersen developed "boot camp" to help ninth graders become familiar with the high school.
"It helped students adjust to the school climate and teachers," added Botten, an algebra and chemistry teacher in her seventh year at the high school. The staff was more aware of their needs and helped make them feel more welcome.
As part of Boot Camp, the two teachers developed a handbook which was given to all the ninth graders entering the Paynesville Area High School. The handbook included a supply list; photos of teachers so students could place a face with a name; class schedule; and a map of the school to help find classrooms.
"Five years ago a survey of the student body was done. It indicated the faculty was not supportive of the students. We wanted the students to know we care," said Andersen, a ninth grade English teacher and journalism instructor.
The teachers feel the attitude has changed and students are making the transition better. The students and teachers are interacting better. "Faculty members have bent over backwards to help students adjust to a new school," Andersen said.
"We feel the program was a success," Andersen said.
Karlin Jacoby and Becky Hoey developed a mentorship program for new faculty members last year.
Staff mentors have helped new teachers learn the routine within the school. Such as assigning detention, taking attendance, and where to find things around the building.
"With the teachers making a better transition to a new school, the students have a better adjustment," said Jacoby, a special education teacher in the elementary school.
Jacoby and Hoey, a business instructor, also developed a newsletter to help keep the teachers informed of what was happening within the school and the mentorship program.
The winning faculty members said there are many teachers on staff that deserve recognition. "We have a lot of teachers helping students beyond the classroom," Botten said. "A lot of teachers deserve recognition. It was neat to be recognized," she added. "We did the project for the kids."
Gillman (third from left in front), who has been at the middle school eight years, attended the academy during the 1999-2000 school year. It consists of five days spread out through the school year. She had the opportunity to network with others in her respective field and learn in-depth about various programs.
"It contained a lot of brushup training for principals," Gillman said. The training reviewed working with staff, developing leadership, school policy, and public relations.
"We learned from each other," Gillman added. "I feel I grew as a principal as a result of the academy."
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