June 9, 2017
Micah Nelson, a middle school social studies teacherat Center for Inquiry School 2, is ending her reign as the 2017 IPS Teacher ofthe Year and passing the baton to Kathleen Rauth, the newly crowned 2018 IPSTeacher of the Year. In her final column as TOY, Nelson talks about hertime in this role and why she’s excited to hand over the title to Rauth. Congratulations to the 2018 IPS Teacher of the Year,Kathleen Rauth!
I am particularly excited to hand over the title of IPS Teacherof the Year to Kathleen because I have had the pleasure of working with her atthe Center for Inquiry for the past two years. Her depth of knowledge aboutliterature, her passion for finding culturally responsive materials, and herability to inspire all of us to read more makes her stand out as one of the topeducators in our school district.
I am a teacher who incorporates much literacy into mysubject area classroom, so Kathleen’s expertise about young adult literatureand content-related nonfiction have been invaluable to me. She serves as the mediaspecialist at CFI School 27 (and at CFI 2), yet she is still able to staycurrent with the units we are teaching and find time to provide literature thathas meaningful connections with each grade level and subject-specificcontent.
One morning, after discussing a recent unit on immigration,Kathleen came into my classroom with a stack of no less than 15 books thatconnected with my unit and would engage my students. They ranged from graphicnovels, to realistic fiction, to biographies. Her ability to pull these titlesalmost instantly and put them into the hands of students is something to beadmired.
Recently, Kathleen presented a workshop for IPS teachersabout culturally responsive literature in the K-8 classroom. The materials sheprovided for her workshop attendees should be given to all IPS teachers! Herpassion for promoting culturally responsive literature even helped one of ourcurrent eighth-graders. This student was working on his community project, acapstone service project completed by middle years students in InternationalBaccalaureate Programmes. His service action was to create a website databaseof materials that teachers and students can use when studying Native Americans.The insight and assistance she provided this student is invaluable, as he wenton to use this information to compete at the state level National History Daycompetition.
Finally, Kathleen’s passion for books ripples out to all ofus — students and staff alike. This year, she organized a visit and bookdiscussion with the authors of “All American Boys” for our seventh- andeighth-grade students. Prior to the visit, each student received a copy of thebook, so they were well-prepared and excited to talk to the authors. All of ourmiddle school students (and myself) read this book voraciously. This isparticularly impressive because it encouraged our middle schoolers to addressthe issues of race and police/community relations while examining how theywould react if they were one of the characters in the book. She has also hostedseveral children’s authors for our younger students this year, includingPatricia Polacco, Linda Sue Park and Dan Gutman.
Kathleen is a shining example of an outstanding educator. IndianapolisPublic Schools is lucky to have such a knowledgeable, passionate and inspiringteacher on our team.
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