Aired Thursday May 27th, 2010 at 7:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
Lisa Roundy has a lot on her hands. Seventy five percent of the children in her high-risk kindergarten class ranked low on the kindergarten assessment test. Most of the children cannot recognize a single letter of the alphabet and many of them speak very little English. Yet she puts her heart and soul into teaching. When a child needs correction, Roundy does so in a way that leaves the child feeling confident and eager. Last year, all but one of her students advanced to first grade, and the student who stayed behind for summer school was at the top of the summer class.
As one parent said, "The first word that comes to mind is patience! She works really hard and has a very good command of her class." Another parent remarked, "She is really, really talented at getting kids to go from nothing to something!"
This year Roundy, who teaches at Spring Creek Elementary in Provo, is recipient of the 2010 Utah PTA Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education. The awards ceremony, along with footage of Roundy at work with her kindergarten class, will air on KUED-Channel 7 Thursday, May 27 at 7:00 p.m.
Fellow teachers at Spring Creek marvel at Roundy's skill at reaching her students. Described as quietly going into her classroom to "make magic happen," she is admired for her responsibility, patience and successes as a teacher.
"If our state were filled with carbon copies of Miss Roundy, students would all seek loftier goals and have the motivation to achieve them," says Spring Creek PTA President K. Denise Bonnett. "And most importantly, everyone would be kinder and help others succeed." With a math level-two endorsement, Roundy is the math specialist at Spring Creek. While teaching full-time she also trains faculty and staff on the best ways to connect math with students of various ages.
Roundy has a unique way of motivating and spreading good behavior in her classroom. As Mrs. Brown, Miss Roundy's aid for over ten years, says, "She never points to negative behavior, but rather will choose a child sitting near the negative behavior and compliment them on how well they are doing. She loves them into behaving!" Tokens are given out for good work and good behavior. At the end of each month Roundy opens her "Token Store" where the children can purchase the reward of their choosing.
Daily activities include counting the children before class begins, the "Daily Days of the Week Song" and counting straws to determine how many school days have passed. "She has a song for everything she teaches," says Bonnett. "She believes in the power of music in learning."
Roundy believes it is her obligation, as a kindergarten teacher, to establish a lifelong love of learning in each child, indeed this is one of her goals as an educator. Her first rule is to make it fun for the learner. Roundy understands that "It is the fun side of each activity that helps children at a young age develop a love for learning," says Bonnett.
Parents quickly see the positive results of Roundy's class on their child. Last year one parent threatened to take his child to a private school if the request for Roundy was not met. Roundy often invites the parents to the classroom parties and events. With everything organized before hand, the parents find themselves as guests and not as an aimless pair of hands.
"We all know how busy and hectic life can be," says Roundy. "Therefore, I try to make my classroom as accessible as possible." Each month Roundy sends home a class newsletter with the children to give to their parents. "I believe that the newsletters not only inform parents about what I am teaching," says Roundy, "but also gives the parents a tool to have meaningful conversations with their child about what is happening at school."
Principle Jarod Sites has known Roundy the six years she has been teaching at Spring Creek Elementary. "Every so often we encounter a remarkable individual who offers us hope and motivation to do a better job each day," says Sites. "Lisa Roundy is one such person that all of us can learn from and who makes our world a little better each day."
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