Posted by 2015 Teacher of the Year Finalist, Arturo Rodriguez 3/2/2016

I’m always pleased when I ask students if they like William Penn Elementary  (WPE) and they say emphatically, “Yes.” Rarely does a student ever respond “no” to that question, and I believe that’s because of the caring WPE staff. The culture of caring reflects the staff’s commitment to building connections with parents and the community. WPE is a great place for children because of its dedicated teachers. The staff is kind and respectful to children. In that way, they are wonderful role models for students. They keep lines of communication open with families through newsletters, telephone calls or emails – whatever works for our families. They keep their expectations high for all students. WPE teachers work hard when they teach and harder after their official day is over; and even harder into the private hours when they are at home with their families. Principal Corye Franklin expresses similar sentiments, “We are continuing a culture and atmosphere of excellence. To that end, this year, we will continue with our theme of, Excellence without Excuses!” From the classroom teachers to our assistants and custodians, we all take responsibility for the education of our students. Everyone helps to steer our students on the path to responsibility. The sense of responsibility permeates everywhere at WPE. In the cafeteria, for example, our food service workers do not hesitate to correct students, and some of our teachers eat with students and lend a hand to maintaining decorum. WPE is not the school I know without the wonderful staff members that work there.