Director of Teaching & Learning Miles Azzeh's Academic Spotlight: Emerald Peters
Our Lansing USD 469 teachers are incredible at engaging our students in fantastic learning opportunities to reach their full potential every day in our district. To highlight and bring recognition to this great work, Director of Teaching and Learning Miles Azzeh will be regularly shining a spotlight on a stand-out teacher through "academic spotlights."
Many people don't realize the significant impact deficiencies in math can create for a student:
- Lower GPA and graduation rates.
- Decreased assessment scores.
- The need for remedial classes in secondary and post-secondary education.
- Fewer scholarship opportunities
These reasons are exactly why we have math and reading intervention in our district and why we have excellent interventionists like Emerald Peters.
I was fortunate enough to observe Emerald help her math students struggling with graphing and slopes. While I was impressed with her instructional capabilities, what warmed my heart was how kind, patient, and caring she was with her students. Her ability to encourage students when they didn't get a concept while also not making them feel insecure about their gaps in learning is truly outstanding.
I also loved that she started the class with a resource we purchased for the middle school titled "Use it, Don't Lose it":
"I really like starting class with a spiraling math review as it allows students to revisit concepts that may have been challenging, providing an opportunity for remediation." - Emerald Peters
In addition to the review, Mrs. Peters broke out the whiteboards to have students kinesthetically work on understanding slope in graphing. There were many opportunities for her to "close the gap" in their learning, and she did a splendid job doing so.
Emerald also utilized the "gradual release of responsibility" strategy, where she modeled the learning, did a problem with them together, and then released them to independent work. You could immediately tell this method was beneficial for the students:
"I feel happy in Mrs. Peters's room because I get help in math to make it easier."
In addition to spiraling and going deeper with concepts that students are struggling with, Mrs. Peters will introduce some upcoming concepts that the students will be learning in their core math class. This "anticipatory set" improves their likelihood of grasping the content at that time.
"Occasionally, we cover a new concept, and I can pre-teach, creating prior knowledge when their core teacher introduces the concept."
- Emerald Peters
Hearing students reflect on this practice makes one realize how beneficial it is for their learning:
"I like to be with Mrs. Peters because she makes math fun and easier to understand before I go to my core math class."
I cannot express how impressed and grateful I am that we have Emerald in our midst. Her dedication to her students' learning and improvement is unbelievable, as is how apparent it is that she genuinely cares about them. After a strenuous hour of learning, she rewarded them with mints and an "I love you" that they all genuinely returned.
Thank you for all you do, Emerald!