Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Who is Teaching Our Children?

Fourth Grade Teachers are from left Susan Baumler, Sarah Palmer, Christine Farhat, Matt Lyons, Pam Baldwin and Gail Dunphy. Photo by Val Simon

Fourth Grade Teachers are from left Susan Baumler, Sarah Palmer, Christine Farhat, Matt Lyons, Pam Baldwin and Gail Dunphy. Photo by Val Simon

by Val Simon

Florida Comprehensive Assessment Testing (FCAT)Writes and Collier Writes testing will begin March 1st. This is something all teachers, students, parents and faculty prepare for. So, what do the results of the reading, math and science tests mean? Not only do the tests assess the progress the child has made during the year, but scores are used to compare the school and the district to other schools and districts in the state through the rigorous Sunshine State Standards. These scores also weigh in the school’s Annual Yearly Progress report.

Recently, TBE offered a Parent Writing Academy called ‘Writing is a Process’ for parents to learn ways they may help their children in writing. “It’s just one way we help students, said Fourth Grade Team Leader Pam Baldwin. Fourth grade teachers are taking the FCAT Writes very seriously because writing is only tested by the state at the fourth grade level in elementary school. Teachers are doing everything possible to prepare the children so they are able to do their best. We teach them to paint pictures with words through vocabulary. The students are given one of two tests, either a narrative or an expository writing test, but they don’t know which test they will get.” The workshop addressed organization, ideas, elaboration, voice, word choice and sentence structure through engaging activities. Various workshops are held throughout the school year at Tommie Barfield Elementary and are a good opportunity for parents to actively participate in their child’s education.

Pam Baldwin, Fourth Grade Team Leader

Pam attended the Southwest Virginia Community College where she earned an Associate of Science degree in Elementary Education. She also went to University of Virginia at Wise earning a Bachelor of Science in Education – Primary Education PK-4 and Middle Education 4-8 (with Specialized Areas of Concentration in Math, Science, and Social Studies). She earned a Master of Science in Education – Reading Specialist PK-12 at Longwood University; Virginia Commonwealth University where she achieved Dual Masters Endorsement: Administration and Supervision PK-12 and in Collier County Public Schools Pam achieved an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Endorsement and a Teacher of Gifted Education Endorsement. She has been an educator for 24 years, 8 years-First grade, 2 years-Fourth grade, 5 years-Fifth grade. She was a reading specialist for 6 years, Coordinator of Reading K-12 and Grants for one year and was Coordinator of Reading K-12, Federal Programs, and Grants for 2 years. Her hobbies include reading, writing, surfing the web and learning new things and collecting Yorkshire terrier figurines. Pam is married to Rick and they have one son, Adam, who is in his senior year at FGCU studying Computer Information Systems. Pam and her husband take delight in a Yorkshire terrier named Bogey. Pam has an avid interest in law and if she hadn’t chosen to be a teacher she could see herself as a District Attorney or a Private Investigator. Being a teacher is one of the most rewarding professions in the world! Pam loves it as much today as the first day she started teaching. Her class motto is, “Reach for the stars, BUT Shoot for the Moon!” She firmly believes you get what you expect so she always holds high expectations of her students. Pam thinks children are resilient and will rise to the occasion every time. Her class them is ‘unity’. From day one when students walk into her classroom, they become one big, happy family. Each and every individual is unique and will all have special gifts they bring to the table. Collectively, they will thrive and shine. They are partners in education and hunger for knowledge and thrive on challenges. Together they work to help, support, enhance, facilitate, encourage, promote, and celebrate each other’s challenges and successes. Pam says, “We are all for one and one for all we are unity!”

Sarah Palmer

Sarah has an Associate of Arts degree from Edison College and Bachelor of Elementary Education from Florida Gulf Coast University and is ESOL endorsed. Her hobbies include singing, scrapbooking and exercising. Sarah has three brothers and two sisters, one of which is her identical twin sister! She is engaged to be married to Eric, her fiancé. She has two dogs, Sparky a Miniature American Eskimo and Bentley, a Maltese. Sarah is left-handed which is not unusual in itself, but her whole family is left-handed too! Sarah’s class motto is TBE’s school-wide motto, which is to be a respectful, responsible, role model. She has wanted to be a teacher as long as she can remember and it is exactly as she always dreamed it would be! Sarah says her outlook towards teaching can be described in one word: PASSION!

Matt Lyons

Matt has been teaching for 11 years. He has a B.A. in Anthropology and History from Miami University and an Elementary Education Certification from Wright State University. He’s taught Third, Fourth and Fifth grades. Matt is married to Melissa, who is also a teacher. They have two cats, Mo and Peek-a-Boo. His parents Leroy and Nancy Lyons live around the corner from them. Matt enjoys playing basketball, golf and tennis with friends and he loves to read. Matt believes every child is at a unique stage in the learning and it is up to him to meet them where they are at and walk them further down the path. Matt has attended Little League games, soccer matches, basketball tournaments, plays and dance recitals. He firmly believes in letting the child know he supports the whole child in any of their endeavors, not just the academic ones. He feels by showing them he sees the whole person, they will give their best in everything they do.

Gail Dunphy

Gail has taught school for 40 years. She taught First grade for 25 years and Third grade for 9 years in Scituate, Massachusetts. She was a multi-age teacher and now fourth grade at TBE. Gail has a Bachelor of Science degree from Rhode Island College and Masters Degree from Bridgewater. She enjoys travelling especially to places she has not seen, and enjoys decorating for friends but being a grandmother is her favorite above all. Gail resides in Naples with her husband Ed. They have a daughter Heather who works as a Therapist/Social Worker in Boston and a son, Kyle who is a Lawyer/ Financier in Los Angeles. Gail believes in a multi-sensory approach to teaching where children need to be allowed to explore, learn from and react to a wide variety of multisensory experiences. Students should develop a command of cognitive strategies. They need to be learning to read critically, ask questions and succeed in comprehending challenging texts on their level. Being able to use a variety of problem solving strategies is extremely important to enhance the child’s comprehension in every subject area.

Susan Baumler

Susan attended Louisiana State University where she received a Bachelor in Science in Elementary Education (1st-8th). Susan has taught classes in each of those grade levels except Second grade. Out of her 13 years as a teacher, two were in Louisiana; she has been a teacher at TBE for 11 years. Susan loves to read, travel and work any kind of puzzle; crossword, jigsaw, etc. She has been married to her husband Bill for 22 years and they have two children, a son named William who is 19 years old and a daughter named Frances who is 16 years. They also have a cat named Maggie. Susan came from a large family and was the youngest of nine. Her general outlook toward teaching is that all children who pass through her door are complex individuals with academic, social and behavioral strengths and weaknesses. “Our goal as a class is to come together each day as a community of learners and gain knowledge about ourselves and the world. We try to do so with respect and compassion for one another.”

Christine Farhat

Christine went to Cleveland State University where she attained a BS in Education, an MA ED from Baldwin Wallace College, Technology Certified, and Baldwin Wallace College and is a National Board Certified Teacher with Varying Exceptionalities and a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction and is ESOL certified. She has taught for a total for a total of 15 years: five years teaching Fourth, five years teaching Fifth grade and five years teaching Math and Language arts for Sixth grade. Her hobbies include sewing, walking on the beach, bike riding, kite flying, sand sculpting, tennis, kayaking and skiing. Christine has been married to Coach Kamal for 26 years. They have two daughters; Mercedes, a 20year old Pharmacy student at the University of Florida and daughter, Louisa, 19 years old, a Sophomore at the University of Florida in Mechanical Engineering. Their grandparents, Victor and Louisa, reside in Cleveland. Christine loves being outdoors and enjoys all outdoor activities. Her class motto is Learning is Fun!

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