Student Nomination Story

I am nominating Mrs. Dawn Jaworski on behalf of my son, William Lamberg. Right before Will began this school year, he was diagnosed with severe ADHD and an anxiety disorder. From day one, Mrs Jaworski has shown us nothing but care, understanding, and compassion. Will has gone from a child who struggled to get any work done successfully in class to a child who knows he can do it and much more often completes his assignments in class. Academically, Will has been built up so much he knows he can be successful. Mrs. Jaworski has taught the usual kindergarten curriculum; Will has learned how to read and is absolutely loving math! She has helped him find a strength that makes him feel good about himself. He still needs extra help at times, but we are moving in the right direction toward Will becoming a little more independent. On a personal level, Mrs Jaworski has taught so many citizenship education concepts, such as winning and losing gracefully. Will struggled to build relationships with his peers due to issues with his aforementioned conditions. Mrs Jaworski has done an outstanding job of encouraging the other students to rally around Will. Everyone celebrates his successes, which helped the other students love and accept Will as he is. She has paired him with peers who are trusted friends to help him when he needs added reassurance. These added efforts on Mrs Jaworski’s part have helped Will make and keep friends, which has helped him learn appropriate social behaviors in the moment. These efforts have also helped Will grow out of some of his social awkwardness and blossom into a butterfly who is able to effectively and appropriately express his love for his friends and the adults in his life. Mrs Jaworski works hard to build relationships with her students. Will is the type of child who will not do anything for someone he does not love and respect. Will spent a lot of time having disciplinary problems at the beginning of the year (before he started taking medication); through it all Mrs Jaworski continued to build rapport with Will. Today, they have quite a strong bond/connection. Will has to give her a hug every afternoon before we leave at pick up time. I watch his eyes light up when he sees her. She has described Will on multiple occasions as “Full of hugs and ‘I love you's'” and has remained positive toward and about Will at all times; this has impacted him deeply because he's felt and received nothing but unconditional love and care at school. Will has said when he is a St Louis Cardinal, he is going to give her Champions Club tickets to watch him play baseball because she's been to nice to him. Will wants to be a Kindergarten teacher when he grows up (after he plays for the St Louis Cardinals, of course) because his exact words were “I want to help kids like Mrs Jaworski has helped me.” The amount of growth Will had over the first semester is best illustrated by the fact he received the “Most Improved” award for his class for second quarter. The attached picture is Mrs Jaworski and Will together with his certificate. Earning that award boosted his confidence so much. Mrs Jaworski and I speak on close to a daily basis to make sure we stay on the same page in regard to Will's progress and where we want to get him next. Mrs Jaworski and I have built a strong school-home relationship over the course of the year; I often say Will is the poster child of what is possible when parents and teachers work together on the same team. In the time she and I have been cooperatively supporting Will toward success, I have found her to be talented and knowledgeable in strategies for differentiation so that she can reach all of “her kids”. She has asked me about trying a couple of creative strategies to help Will succeed both academically and behaviorally. She implemented a “Baseball Chart” for Will where he can get base hits and beyond with the goal of getting back to home plate, which results in “clipping up” on the behavior chart. Will is very visual in how he comprehends and processes information, Mrs Jaworski realized he needed something tangible to track his progress. Also he loves baseball so much he related to the chart and easily understands the rules. She also has strikes on the chart...3 strikes and he has to “clip down”. Once again, it is tangible for him, which eases his anxiety. Mrs Jaworski regularly tells me “Will is a joy (or blessing) to teach.” and “I have learned so much from teaching Will.” Those quotes are most often her response to an expression of appreciation. She is very humble, which is also setting a beautiful example for all of her students. Mrs Dawn Jaworski is a wonderful example of how Kindergarten should be taught. So many children come in, and this is their first experience in a school setting. Teachers like Mrs Jaworski make the experience far less overwhelming and far more exciting. Will had 3 years of preschool, but the transition was still hard for him. When a child who used to find school frustrating and a chore wakes up excited to get out the door, the teacher is doing the right things. Will is still working through his medical conditions, but by working as a team we are making progress one step at a time. I cannot thank Mrs Jaworski enough for all the ways she has brought so much light into a very dark situation. Having a child who struggles is stressful, and she has been there standing beside me, too, through it all. I very much hope you will consider awarding Mrs Jaworski with a top prize.

William Lamberg

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.