Celebrating at “Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration” are, from left to right, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, Avery Elementary School 2019 Teacher of the Year Bonnie Smith and Principal Dr. Lisa Turner.
Our teachers are amazing, which is why we share the story of a school’s Teacher of the Year every week... please help us celebrate Avery Elementary School 2019 Teacher of the Year Bonnie Smith!
A special U.S. flag hangs in the main hallway of Avery Elementary School that symbolizes the impact of its Teacher of the Year, Bonnie Smith.
Ms. Smith’s first-graders each year “adopt” deployed service members as pen pals. Through the project, the students improve their writing skills, while also learning the importance of citizenship and service.
Each year, the lesson proves one of the most memorable for students, as they eagerly await responses from their pen pals and collect donations to send them care packages. The Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, Veterans Day and Memorial Day… all became more meaningful.
Several years ago, one of the soldiers, whose aunt is a teacher at Avery, arranged a special thank-you. A U.S. flag flown over the soldiers’ barracks in Afghanistan was presented to the school during a ceremony in the cafeteria – where the students met their pen pals in person! It was, according to Ms. Smith, “nothing less than magical.”
The same could be said of Ms. Smith, a 25-year educator: “In addition to being a fantastic teacher,” one colleague said, “she’s shaping her class into caring individuals.”
In her own words: “My beliefs about teaching are demonstrated in this lesson because learning must be real, meaningful, valuable and pertinent to the students.”