The Collaborative for Educational Services is pleased to announce the February and March winners of our regional Excellence in Education: Living our Guiding Principles Award! We honor those educators across the DYS workforce who embody one or more of the Guiding Principles including: College, Career, and Civic Readiness; Culture and Purpose; and Social Justice and Equity, central to the organization’s mission to improve the academic and life outcomes for the youth they serve.
Western Region: Erin White, Western Region Instructional Coach – Erin was nominated by the teachers she works with on a daily basis around her work on the guiding principle of Culture and Purpose. As one teacher quotes “Erin helps me to create a learning environment for my students that is inclusive, caring, and focused on the students’ needs and who they are as people as well as learners”. Another teacher wrote “Despite being asked to bear an incredibly heavy load, she is always quick to respond to an inquiry or a request for help, find time to help a colleague, and do so in a consistently professional and friendly manner. She is a great asset to the organization”. Another said “ Erin is always cheerful and positive. She can put a sunny spin on just about anything and seems to do it with ease. Erin is receptive to questions and ideas and is just a pure joy to be around, plus she is a bottomless well of information and experience.”
Central Region: Gopesh Pandey, Teacher at Leahy Detention
Gopesh creates a classroom environment where the students feel safe to ask for help and take risks. He is dedicated to his students’ growth and embraces their individual needs.
‘Gopesh always brings an enormous amount of joy and passion in his teaching. He cares so much about the students and their learning. He allows students to work at their own pace and at their own level. He is willing to go above and beyond in all aspects of teaching, including preparing students for the math MCAS. Gopesh comes to work with a smile on his face and is a positive force on the unit.”
“Gopesh has always given his students the space and time within his classroom. He always makes sure that each student is heard and has individualized plans for each student. He always takes his time to make sure each student is completing their work with confidence and if they need help, it is always given. He is and has always been a joy to teach alongside with. We are all better educators by trying to reach his standards of teaching.”
“Gopesh is a real role model for the students here at the Leahy program. The students know the high standards expected of them. The students really enjoyed working on a very creative cell poster project a few weeks ago..”
Congratulations Gopesh! Thank you for embracing and embodying our guiding principles where “Youth learn in classrooms where joy, creativity, and compassion are evident; their voices are valued and identities are affirmed; and dignity, safety, and respect is fostered by all.”
Metro Region: Thomas “Tommy” Cosgrove, Teacher at MTU and EBDU – Tommy teaches ELA at MTU and EBDU and was nominated by his colleagues, who noted, “Tommy works hard to build meaningful relationships with all his students and foster a culture of mutual respect. The students are made to feel like they have an equal voice in the classroom, in building classroom expectations, choosing learning materials, and in how they represent their learning.
Tommy works to include their personal interests and life stories in his curriculum, while also encouraging them to strive for more. He has been seen working with post-grads on college work, helping students with resumes and business plans, researching and printing resources for students outside of class time, and sharing personal copies of classic literature with interested students.” and “Tommy has found unique ways to include culture and purpose in our ELA class. Students are gaining engagement and new skills.” Congratulations, Tommy, for living our Guiding Principle of Culture and Purpose!
Northeast Region: Emmanouella Vendouri, Teacher at Northeast Detention – Emmanouella’s colleagues had some great things to say, “Emmanouella constantly effuses her lessons with lessons in critical thinking and analysis. She motivates her students to see beyond their limitations and weaknesses and to explore possibilities in their life choices, especially in their career choices.She breaks down complicated ideas effectively for students to access, participate and grow. It’s a joy to watch her engage the students in topics that range from riddles, to literary analysis to writing strategies. The student work shows that she not only teaches but coaches her students to produce excellent and creative work using their own talents and interests.” and “Emmanouella is dedicated to making sure her students are seen and feel welcome each day in class. She has consistently high expectations and is a great listener.”
Congratulations, Emmanouella, for living our Guiding Principle of College, Career, and Civic Readiness!
Southeast Region: John Cady was nominated by several of his colleagues including SSD Teacher Cassandra (Cassi) Menard and ECC Brian Mitchell.
Brian states, “Over the past year John has been a great advocate in helping 3 of my students earn their credentials (2 high school diplomas and 1 HiSET) and starting college programming through the CES contracted courses. John has always done a great job in communicating the needs of his students while working in a constantly transitioning detention classroom. He is always patient and positive and a great colleague to work with.”
Cassi nominated John in the principles of College, Career, and Civic Readiness Culture and Purpose: “John Cady brings humor and energy to his classroom and helps students draw connections between the past and today by examining the roots of modern issues, showing what life in the past may have been like and engaging classroom discussion. John skillfully facilitates classroom discussions in which not all parties agree but they do all feel validated and heard.
John also helps post-graduate students navigate online college classes and almost-graduates with Edgenuity courses and Hi-SET prep materials in an effort to help them succeed beyond the DYS classroom.
John not only develops great activities that engage his students in meaningful ways but he is a great colleague and team leader. He consistently encourages his team to supplement their curriculums with hands-on activities and incorporate critical discussions of current events in their classes. He offers invaluable professional support and advice to help these types of activities run smoothly in the classroom.
Metro Region: Debra “Debbie” Gorsky, Teaching Coordinator at CSD – Debbie has been the Teaching Coordinator at CSD for three years and has been teaching with DYS for sixteen years! Debbie has been nominated for this award by her colleagues, who shared that, “She has relationships with students that have been built over multiple years and she also has relationships with students who have been there for a few weeks. Not only is Debbie a warm and comforting person to be around for her students, but they are independently motivated to make progress in math. Students who struggled to multiply two numbers together are multiplying binomials within months. Young people are motivated to learn and pass the Hi-Set but also motivated to get a little purple check on their paper from Debbie. We should all aspire to follow her example of a well- established classroom full of motivated and active young people,” and “I’ve never seen a place where students like math as much as they do in Debbie’s classroom. It’s so refreshing! She’s truly created a culture where students walk into her classroom eager to learn, and focused on the purpose of attaining either their HiSET or a diploma.
Congratulations, Debbie, for living our Guiding Principle of Culture and Purpose!
Central Region: Dan Robichaud, Teaching Coordinator at Spectrum Girls. Dan received multiple nominations highlighting his contributions to College, Career, and Civic Readiness including a strong and supportive nomination from one of his students.
From student EB: “I would like to nominate my teacher Dan R. from Spectrum Girls. He’s an awesome listener when it comes to us struggling at times, he is very good at adapting while still being flexible to the DYS community and rules DYS school is a very different set up from public schools in a complex way and he has adapted very well. I would also like to applaud Dan for his empathy and critical thinking. Me and my peers can be very difficult at times and he is always there to compromise while still helping us work our way up to where we need to pass. Dan’s communication skills are very efficient when it comes to working with us females. He is very patient but still willing to push us hard to our best potential that he knows and sees. He is very invested in us female’s education and future such as allowing us to do research on what we want to be when we grow up but still making sure we present our findings and telling why. Dan is also good at getting us girls to work together and teamwork is a very good skill to have when working in a classroom.”
From a colleague: Dan R. has displayed all the qualities related to this award. In school, he creates assignments that engage his students and offers them opportunities to do hands-on projects. Dan’s personalized approach to student learning makes each of his students challenged but not overwhelmed. Dan has also been successful with maintaining a positive work environment for other staff members which supports the overall culture of the program. In turn, the students feel safe and secure in their environment.
Western Region: Michael Roblinski, SEIS teacher at Terri Thomas and SRT – Michael was nominated by his co-workers for his outstanding work around both the Culture and Purpose Principle as well as the College, Career and Civic Readiness Principle. As one teacher wrote, “Mike has been instrumental in helping provide college, career, and civic readiness by working with me on implementing student accommodations during planning and instruction.” Another teacher wrote “Mike’s activities have enriched our classroom culture and boosted student achievement.” Yet another teacher said that “Mike is always willing to lend a hand, help out however he can, and overall makes this a great place to work with his energy and commitment to his students and his co-workers.”
Northeast Region: Sharyn Chamberlain, Teaching Coordinator at Kennedy School
This year Sharyn became the Teaching Coordinator at Kennedy School, and before that she taught for twelve years in DYS schools in the Northeast. Her colleagues shared that, “Sharyn’s consistent insistence on high standards at Kennedy School is exemplary. She has been able to create an atmosphere where high standards is the norm,” , “Sharyn is the epitome of a caring and compassionate intellectual. She embodies the qualities of an individual who is devoted to her students and her colleagues. She always goes above and beyond to support everyone in her path,” , “Sharyn has created a culture of purpose for these students,” and “ She is eternally optimistic and has brought that optimism to the building.”
Congratulations, Sharyn, for living our Guiding Principle of Culture and Purpose!