Pelham - Windham News | May 11, 2012 - 9
Bernasconi- continued from front page This understanding is something
that sweeps through all of Bernasconi’s classrooms. The desire to drive the individual, educational needs in all of her students is what fuels her incredible drive. The central theme in today’s classroom is getting the students to care, and understanding how the day’s topic can transcend the lesson, and how they can use what they learned in every day life. Not only are her students learning biology, but, they are learning valuable critical thinking skills. “I don’t teach science. I teach students and I teach them the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century world regardless of what path they choose to follow in life. It just so happens the vehicle in which I deliver these skills is a subject that I am incredibly passionate about,” She said. Life long learning, she says, comes not from the material learned, but on the personal impact felt by the student when the teaching process is correctly administered. “That’s my goal everyday. I set very high expectations for my students, but my expectations for myself are even higher,” she said. Bernasconi said that this drive and passion for education lies within all the teachers in the Windham school district, “I think that as a whole, Windham has attracted an incredibly diverse group of educators, but at the heart of it all, they are all here because they are passionate about students and educating them, I haven’t seen anyone here that smacks of something else,” she said. In its mere three years of existence, Windham High School has cultivated a culture of respect and individual education. According to Bernascoli, the faculty and staff at the school all adhere to these guidelines, creating an exceptional educational experience. “We’ve come a long way in three years, and its easy to forget we’re [the school] are still babies.” Windham High School is a different kind of place, and Bernasconi said that motto is what originally attracted her to the school. The fact that the school was new attracted her to the district in 2009. According to Bernasconi, it was her chance to work with other dedicated educators to mold an educational experience unlike any others. This dedication to individualized learning is observed throughout the four walls of Windham High School. Bernasconi said that she can assign a project, and based on each student’s skills and talents receive radically different end products. But the information is there, and according to Bernasconi, the cookie cutter approach to learning is something of the past, and its becoming increasingly obvious different learning styles and patterns prevail in every single classroom. “I think that
up my bachelor’s degree, I was all set to go straight through and get my Ph.D.,” she said. Her journey took a turn and she realized her real passion for teaching. Less than a decade later, she was nominated by Windham High School’s Principal Tom Murphy to be in the running for teacher of the year. “It’s not about being the best teacher, because there are many teachers who are deserving of this award, many of them, who I believe are within these four walls here. But it’s about being a spokesperson for all that we are doing within education,” Bernasconi said. The point of the honor, is to let the world know what teachers are doing, “We need to be heralds of our own successes and the successes of your colleagues, we need to be out there. If we want to change the perception of our profession we have to do it,” she added, “We need to be the ones championing the change within our profession.” The ties between the community and the school are what really clears the path for a student’s success. As long as there is camaraderie between the town, and the students produced in its schools, there are clear paths to success for all students, and residents.
Bernasconi and her husband attending a formal event at the conference
gives students the opportunity to be more successful,” she said.
Despite her commitment to the profession, she never planned on being a teacher. Both of her parents were worked in education, and while she respected the fi eld, she did not want to follow in their footsteps. “I was going to be a marine biologist,” she said. During her third year at Boston University, it all changed. She was researching out at Wood’s Hole, when she realized she wanted to be a teacher. She realized she wanted to share her interests with people who were eager to listen. In short, she missed working with people. Excited, she told her family, and their response was, “It’s about time you realized that.” Bernasconi has been a teacher since childhood, she just didn’t realize it. When she was fourteen, she helped her father run a summer enrichment course about fossils. By the time she was in high school she was teaching her own summer class about pond life for third through six graders. Of course, on paper, her mother was listed as the instructor, as she was too young. In college she continued these endeavors, “I guess I’d never seen all that as teaching, and all of a sudden, I was on track to fi nish
According to Bernasconi, the diffi culty facing teachers in the world today is respect. “We have students who come in this door with more baggage than any child should,” she said, her voice started to crack, “and we have to help these students transcend past all of that to what they’re capable of becoming. Our students are beautifully and tragically complex all at once, and its our jobs as teachers to fi nd ways to reach these students and to help them grow,” She said. Being selected as Teacher of the Year has really opened her eyes to the real need for open communication between faculty, administration, parents and the community. “It really taught me leadership skills,” she said. These skills, like the subjects in the classroom transcend the original meaning. It is time for teachers to get out in the community and show what they are producing in the classroom, because their end product, the result of their individual passion and drive is today’s student. To embrace that is to accept the future. “Investing in the children is investing in the future, we all got into teaching for one reason: because we are all passionate about teaching.” “We have hard work ahead of us,
but it’s the work that counts,” she said. After all, it’s the journey that matters, not the destination. Once you reach the destination, all a person can do is remain stagnant.
Outdoors CharlieChalk with
Getting Anglers Back on the Water
Top reasons why people fi sh: fun, relaxing, a great way to spend time with family and friends, catch something to eat, and to be outdoors. Reasons such as catching large fi sh, the challenge, or tradition are minor reasons. • Key outdoor activities found to compete with fi shing include hunting, camping, hiking, golfi ng, gardening and trail running or walking for fi tness. Indoor activities included watching television, cooking and reading.
• Though “not enough time” is cited as a major reason for fi shing less, this response in many cases indicates a preference for other recreational efforts. People state they will make time for activities they want to do, often at the expense of other activities, such as fi shing.
• Anglers-whether active or lapsed-still mostly prefer outdoor activities to indoor ones.
• Most anglers don’t live in rural areas, thus fi shing opportunities and access in urban and suburban locations must be provided, promoted and protected.
• To help reverse declines in angler numbers, industry and agency fi shing promotions must keep fi shing convenient, with few hassles and high levels of enjoyment, and a prime way to spend time with others. If not, anglers will fi nd other activities that provide these outdoor experiences.
• The single biggest thing that would encourage many lapsed anglers to return to the water for some fi shing would simply be if someone invited them to go.
Charlie Chalk can be reached at email@example.com
Windham Resident Chosen as Jimmy Fund
Rylee Simmons, 3, of Windham, has been named one of the Jimmy Fund Clinic Patient Partners for Burger King’s A Chance for Kids program.
Clinic Patient Partner submitted by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Jimmy Fund patient, Rylee Simmons, 3, has been named one of the Jimmy Fund Clinic Patient Partners for the BURGER KING® A Chance for Kids® program. Rylee lives with her parents Jon and Melissa. All proceeds from this program benefi t pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Rylee was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 and received her fi nal chemotherapy treatment on February 3. Rylee attends Pre-school at White Wing School in Nashua. She likes animals, and enjoys crafts, coloring, dressing up, and helping her parents cook. She plans on becoming a doctor when she grows up. From May 28 through
July 1, guests at participating Burger King restaurants will be asked to contribute a dollar to the Jimmy Fund, as part of the restaurant’s A Chance for Kids program with their purchase. With each contribution, restaurant guests will receive a promotion card guaranteed to be a winner, with prizes ranging from all-inclusive resort vacations and airline tickets, to theme park admissions and Burger King food. “For the past 12 years, Burger King employees and their
restaurant guests have been a invaluable partner in our fi ght against pediatric cancers,” said Suzanne Fountain, director of the Jimmy Fund.
Burger King restaurants have generously supported the Jimmy Fund since 1999, raising more than $10.3 million for pediatric cancer research and care. Participating Burger King restaurants are located throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Jimmy Fund (www.JimmyFund.org
) solely supports Boston’s
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, raising funds for adult and pediatric cancer care and research to improve the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world. It is an offi cial charity of the
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Boston Red Sox, as well as the offi cial charity of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, and the Variety Children’s Charity of New England. Since 1948, the generosity of millions of people has helped the Jimmy Fund save countless lives and reduce the burden of cancer for patients and families worldwide. Follow the Jimmy Fund on Facebook: www. facebook.com/thejimmyfund
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