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: Robyn Clark
Division: Gloucester County Public Schools
Position: First grade teacher at Botetourt Elementary School
What the school division said about this Excellent Educator: After more than three decades of teaching first grade, Robyn Clark was surprised and excited to be teaching her students virtually this year!
Clark hosts daily morning meetings in her virtual Zoom classroom to welcome her “ClarkStars” (Clark tells her students they are like rock stars, but better, because they are ClarkStars!) to the new school day and to build social and emotional skills. Throughout the day, she meets in small groups with her students in both reading and math. These small groups of three to five students are highly engaging, and Clark always brings her lessons to life with songs and other interactive activites.
She drives to include caregivers into her lessons, who are often present to help their children. She models ways to help at home with the first grade lessons. While it can be very difficult to make virtual learning accessible for young students, Clark works to create an environment where students are excited to attend.
When asked about her online experience, she is quick to brag of her ClarkStars’ outstanding Zoom meeting attendance and academic growth. She is also very complimentary toward her ClarkStar families who are working with much perseverance and determination to make this school year a success! She keeps lines of communication flowing and instructs by the motto, “This isn’t easy for anyone! You are all working so hard!”
On top of the live zoom sessions, students are required to complete learning modules in all core subject areas (reading, math, science and social studies) in the online platform of CANVAS. Ms. Clark works collaboratively with her 1st grade colleagues to ensure these modules are engaging and easily accessible by her families. She is personally responsible for creating the math modules used by the 1st grade and uses Seesaw extensively in them. Ms. Clark became a Seesaw Ambassador this fall after working independently during the spring and summer to learn more about the platform. On top of this continuous work to create engaging lessons and give feedback to her students’ online assignments, which often occurs on the weekends and at night, Ms. Clark is available to her families throughout the day and evening through email and via Google
Voice. Parental questions and requests for support often comes at all hours. Ms. Clark makes much effort to support her ClarkStar families whenever needed. Teaching and learning during COVID has been very difficult but Ms. Clark has risen to the challenge and her students are most fortunate!