Excellent Educators: Paige Eckhoff, Mary McGillvray, and Zack Fetters

Excellent Educators

Excellent Educators is a WAVY-TV 10 initiative to celebrate local teachers who have gone above and beyond for their students and communities during the coronavirus pandemic. These Excellent Educators were nominated by their school divisions. Congratulations to these educators for all of their hard work and accomplishments!


Name: Paige Eckhoff, Mary McGillvray, and Zack Fetters

Division: Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools

Position: Fourth grade teachers at Laurel Lane Elementary School

What the school division said about this Excellent Educator: Paige Eckhoff, Mary McGillvray, and Zack Fetters brainstormed, planned and organized the Penguinville four grade book club. They began in the fall and have now made this occur each marking period with their selected novel reads.

Here is the initial invite that went out to individuals:

“This is a fun email.  We hope.

Fourth grade is inviting staff members to join our students for a weekly book club discussing Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone.  We plan to meet on Thursday afternoons at 3:00 (10/15, 10/22, 10/29, 11/5) in flexible small groups for about 20 minutes to discuss what students read over the week in asynchronous lessons.  Through the magic of Zoom breakout rooms, each staff member will have a group of 4-6 students somewhat randomly mixed.  Each week, students might meet with different peers/staff.  We want to aim for 8-10 adult facilitators each week.

Our goals for this group are to help students make connections, build engagement, develop a sense of story, and to have a safe space to share a love of books.  While we are connecting to academics, the goal is not to “teach reading” or to “quiz the book”.  Paige and I will provide the adult facilitators a summary of the highlights of the section they have already read/listened to in class, and a few open-ended discussion prompts to get students talking and connecting to the story.

If you would like to participate as a facilitator, your commitment would be to get a copy of Blood on the River and read it ahead of each Thursday meeting.   (By the first meeting, students will have read chapters  1-8.)  You’ll use the discussion prompts and any of your own connections to keep the kids engaged in discussing the book.   First and foremost, we want you to model being a lifelong reader and sharing your love and curiosity for stories.  If you cannot make it to all 4 sessions, that is okay, but we hope you can commit a few weeks ahead of time so we know that we have enough adults for each week.

If you are interested, please reply by letting me know which Thursdays you want to join!  We will send Zoom invites as well as a “facilitator guide” for each weekly meeting.  You would be responsible for getting a copy of the text to read on your own and bring to meetings.  If you know of another staff member who would be dying to join, please let me know!

Happy Reading!

-Paige, Mary & Zack”

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