2004 California Teacher of the Year and 2005 UC Davis Young Alumna of the Year
Written Fall 2005
Dawn has an extraordinary reputation among her peers, students and her community for bringing innovation and passion to the classroom. Dawn’s primary attention is to the children in her classroom. She is knowledgeable about every child. This practice begins at the start of the school year and continues with a weekly personal communication with every family.
These letter journals are really a form of three-way communication that also includes a personal letter from Dawn covering what the class has been studying that week and reporting on the student’s progress as well as listing what parents can do at home to help their child learn. Students then write their own letter about what they’ve been learning, and over the weekend parents respond with a third letter.
In fact, writing is at the heart of Dawn’s classroom because she understands the power of writing to further students’ education: through writing Dawn builds a classroom learning community that extends outward to include students’ families; through writing Dawn deepens her students’ learning in all subject areas. In addition to writing a weekly entry into their “Letter Journal” every Friday, each student also contributes to the monthly collaborative class newsletter.
Dawn is also a teacher of teachers. Specifically, an added asset that Dawn offers to her colleagues is her expertise in teaching writing. For a number of years, Dawn has been a teaching consultant in the Area Three Writing Project. She offers workshops, demonstrations, and invitations to other teachers to visit her classroom.
Dawn is a consummate teacher who not only instructs second graders admirably but also succeeds consistently as a resource for other teachers, whether they are beginning or experienced. Finally, she is a teacher who is devoted to her students and to the art of teaching. Her energy and enthusiasm is unparalleled.