Preschool program honored by Mountain Park staff

First Posted: 3/1/2009

Mountain Park Elementarys staff is blazing new trails with its choice for teacher and teaching assistant of the year.
Tina Arrington was named teacher of the year while her assistant, Melissa Snow, was named teaching assistant of the year last week. This marks the first time at the school that the teacher and teaching assistant have come from the same classroom.
Not only that, but the teachers are in charge of a preschool class, marking the first time in the county that a pre-kindergarten teacher has been chosen for the honor.
Both women were surprised and overwhelmed to receive the award and were honored to be nominated by their peers. Members of the staff voted on who they thought should receive the awards this year.
Its pretty phenomenal that theyre both in the same room, said Regina Barbour, principal. They both do a great gob and we have an excellent pre-K program.
Arrington and Snow attended Mountain Park Elementary School and are happy to be teaching in the smaller setting. They believe it allows the students to receive more one-on-one attention, especially at the pre-K level. This becomes important because of the unique challenges preschool teachers face. They deal with behavioral issues that come with children attending school for the first time. They also set the foundation for the students educational careers.
This is the first time most of them have experience with school. Preschool sets the tone for the rest of their education. Its very important in a childs life, said Snow. I wish every child could have this opportunity because it is the building blocks. The children learn through playing and hands-on experiences and then we build on that. We look for those wonderful golden teaching moments.
The kindergarten teachers at the school are able to pick out those students who have gone to preschool because they are more ready for the work involved. There are students in Mountain Parks pre-K program who can already read above a kindergarten level. Arrington also noted that a study has shown students who attend preschool become more involved in the community and are more likely to give back later in life.
Shes a wonderful teacher. She works miracles with these children in here, said Snow of Arrington.
For the first time, Snow and Arrington have had to face the unique challenge of teaching a students with Downs Syndrome. With the help of Robin Porter, who comes in to help the student in a one-on-one environment, they have helped him to adjust and excel in the school environment.
Weve had to differentiate more because he has his own set of goals, said Arrington. He has excelled and met all of the goals we set for him this year.
Its been a learning experience for us all, added Snow.
Arrington will go on to compete for the county-wide teacher of the year award which will be announced towards the end of the school year. The interview process for that will take place April 21-22.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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