Congratulations to MS 7th grade ELA teacher, Jill Kissick-Castro, who has been named May's META Teacher of the Month. Mrs. Kissick-Castro was nominated by MS 7th grade social studies teacher, Ryan Both.
Here is the nomination letter by Mr. Both:
I wish to nominate Jill Kissick-Castro for META’s “Teacher Of The Month” for May 2022. I have been fortunate in being Jill’s colleague for many years at Maine-Endwell Middle School and have seen first-hand the positive impact she has on students both within and outside of her classroom. She challenges students to think critically about the world and their place in it while fostering a “student-first, all inclusive” learning environment. A perfect example of this is how, based on a conversation with a student earlier this school year, Jill started an after-school “Socratic Seminar Club.” During Wednesday afternoon “Socratics,” dialogues are centered on current issues within and outside of school that are student generated and led. Participation has grown each week as kids have become more comfortable in attending and developing their own voice on the diverse topics presented.
Throughout this school year, Jill and I have partnered to merge her ELA classes and my SS classes under more of a “Humanities” umbrella and our collaboration has yielded tremendous academic and social success. Our students are able to see threads that connect the two subject areas, which has fostered a deeper, more metacognitive understanding. It is with great excitement that I approach the days when we team-teach lessons because our students (and I!) emerge with a richer understanding due to thinking and learning together. Over the course of the many years we have taught together, I have learned so much from her about the craft of teaching. I consider myself fortunate to regard Jill as a colleague, 7th grade teaching partner, and most importantly, a friend. Thank you Jill for igniting a love for learning in the students who are fortunate to be in your ELA 7 classes!