Shawnee teacher named FWCS Teacher of the Year - September 01, 2011
Shawnee Middle School Teacher Carolyn Bookmyer has been named the 2011-12 Fort Wayne Community Schools Teacher of the Year. Bookmyer is an English Language Learners teacher with 16 years of experience; the last three years have been at Shawnee. Bookmyer was selected as Teacher of the Year because of her overwhelming commitment to her students, who come to her speaking little or no English. In working with her students, she helps them not only learn English but become more assimilated into the American culture. She has coordinated ELL career days to show students careers toward which they can aspire, and she has encouraged students to get involved in school activities, even serving as a chauffer for students whose parents cannot take them to a choir concert or soccer practice. Showing students and families that I care builds a community spirit, Bookmyer said. I do home visits. One of my favorite things to do is to deliver report cards to parents who couldn't make it to parent teacher conferences. Many of my students' parents have transportation problems. They would like to come meet the teachers but just can't. So a quick home visit helps build a relationship with the family. In her time with FWCS, Bookmyer has established ELL programs in two middle schools - Miami and Shawnee. She offers training and support to teachers throughout Shawnee to make sure they know how best to work with ELL students and how to communicate with non-English speaking parents. She frequently touts the richness of multiculturalism. I would love for us to not only accept everyone's culture but realize how much each culture enriches our own lives, she said. I want to joyfully celebrate the many insights and opportunities each culture provides and how together our special blend makes us all richer and ultimately pulls us together. Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson praised her accomplishments, Carolyn Bookmyer is a teacher who loves what she does, and it shows. She is very skilled at reaching a diverse community of learners using a variety of teaching methods, including brain-based strategies. As a testament to the success of her methods, all of her students' Language Arts ISTEP+ scores increased this year. She is a fine example of what it means to be FWCS Teacher of the Year.