News release: Supt. Barresi remarks on Teacher Appreciation Day

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Phil Bacharach
Director of Communications
405-521-4894, 405-249-0746

Tricia Pemberton
Assistant Director of Communications
405-521-3371, 405-431-7195-cell

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Supt. Barresi remarks on National Teacher Appreciation Day

 OKLAHOMA CITY (May 6, 2014) — In recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Day, Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi is urging all Oklahomans to show their gratitude.

“Teaching takes a special kind of person with great intelligence and heart. We’re lucky to have many truly remarkable teachers in Oklahoma, and I hope we all take the time to show our gratitude for them. Honestly, I’d hope every day is Teacher Appreciation Day,” Superintendent Barresi said.

This entire week, in fact, is observed nationally as Teacher Appreciation Week.

This morning, Barresi visited teachers at Shidler Elementary School in south Oklahoma City. It was a bit of a homecoming for the superintendent, who had done her student teaching there back in the 1970s.

With Principal Beth Steele leading the way, Barresi sat in on a remedial reading class. Reading Specialist Liz Davis employed an instructional reading program, Structured Language Basics, for a small group of children.

The next stop was the third-grade class of Alana LaFon, who led the class in a discussion about The Chocolate Touch, a book they have been reading. She asked students to use a finger to write on their foreheads how they would rate the book.

“Zero if you despise it,” the teacher said, “or 1, 2 or 3 if you like it.” To the untrained eye, no child appeared to write an invisible “0.”

The superintendent’s visit ended in a pre-kindergarten class. Kids sat, legs crossed, in a circle while teacher Amy Castleman led them through a host of words that include the letter “X.” The kids later paired off in groups of two for more word-centric questions.

They performed admirably. “Give your partner a ‘High-10!’” Ms. Castleman exclaimed.

Barresi was impressed by the teachers’ ingenuity and enthusiasm.

“Teachers are the heartbeat of our schools. They bring not only skill and knowledge, but also passion and enthusiasm,” she said. ”These teachers here at Shidler demonstrated that today. It’s invigorating to meet such great, dedicated educators. There are some wonderful things happening here.”