Tina Repetti-Renzullo - McKinley School
I love the teaching profession and have found many ways to give back. I had the unique opportunity to participate as a delegate to the Oxford Round Table in England in the summer of 2005. The focus of the convention was on a child’s right to read. We meet over the course of a week to hear academic papers presented, to learn the outcomes of literacy programs, and to discuss best practices. Upon returning to my school, I shared the Socratic style of presentation we had utilized at the conference with our middle school English teacher. She and I then worked with her classes to teach them this manner of discussion. I have been a BTSA support provider, have been a member of, secretary for, and chairperson of the School Site Council, and have been an active member of the PTA.
To strengthen family involvement in school, I established Literacy Week at Field Elementary School which culminated in Family Literacy Night. On the designated night, families came to school to celebrate reading for enjoyment. School board members, teachers, and local business professionals read aloud to attendees. For the past two years, I have given a talk at the November PTA meeting on how to have a productive parent–teacher conference. In the presentation, I share strategies and tips for holding a detailed, substantive discussion, as well as how to manage situations that become emotionally charged by keeping the focus on expected student outcomes. I also maintain a classroom materials loan program for the families of my students. Children and parents regularly check out books, games, puzzles, and toys for use at home. Students and parents frequently share with me stories of the time they spend together using these items. Even former students return to continue the check-outs!
To instill in my students a sense of responsibility and citizenship we undertake service projects. When the relative of a school staff member was called to active duty in Iraq, my class wrote letters to his battalion thanking them for their service. In December, we visited a nearby retirement home to sing holiday tunes and share juice and cookies with the residents. It was a memorable event for both the students and the retirees and we’ve been invited to return next year. With the help of parents I installed the “Kinder Garden.” All one hundred twenty-six kindergarten students participate in planting, tending, and harvesting fruits and vegetables. Students bring home the harvest to share with their families. Participation in the garden has helped establish greater respect for school property. Our class regularly engages in campus clean-up and on walking field trips we clean up trash along the way to beautify our local neighborhood. These activities have helped my students gain an appreciation for their role as members of our local community.