Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I think we're going to like this place...

Today, I started my job at Sam's school. As wonderful as it was having the summer off, it felt good having a place I was supposed to be today. Getting out of the house, meeting new people and making a contribution to Sam's school was enjoyable.

I met Sam's new teacher, Dianne Bouton.
"Hi! My name is Dianne Bouton. This is my second year teaching fourth grade at Bel Aire. I am excited to be among such a wonderful team of fourth grade teachers, not to mention the rest of the staff. I earned my BA in Human Development from CSU Long Beach, and received my credential from Dominican College of San Rafael. To top it all off, I have just begun my Masters degree in Reading and Language through Sonoma State. Crazy! Whether I am spending time in the bay area or the mountains, I love to be outdoors! I enjoy hiking with my dog and taking her swimming. I love skiing, listening to music (live), and spending time with my friends and family. I am really looking forward to another wonderful year at Bel Aire!"

Dianne seems really great. She was totally welcoming and we talked awhile about Sam. She said he is the kind of student she likes best.

The above greeting is from the school's website. I don't think they have updated it this year yet. So she wrote it during what was her second year teaching fourth grade at Bel Aire. This will be her third year here, I think. The school places a lot of emphasis on math, which is great but Dianne said she will also concentrate on language arts quite a bit. I was happy to hear that and to learn that she is studying reading and language. That is the area where Sam needs the most growth. His reading and writing skills have improved dramatically and are getting better every day but we want to continue to nurture them. [Big Shout Out to Nicole Tsamoulos, Sam's third grade teacher in Chicago. Under her guidance, Sam went from not wanting to read to reading entire series of books. We all love and appreciate her!!] Sam enjoys math and thinks it is easy. Hopefully, that sentiment will remain.

I also found out more about what I will be doing.

I am assigned to work with two third grade teachers in addition to covering morning recess, lunch and lunch recess. I will spend time each morning with one teacher helping her with her class and time in the afternoon with the other.

The teachers I will be working with are Kendra Bontz,

"Hello! My name is Kendra Bontz and I teach third grade. I live in Mill Valley with my husband, two children, and my dog. I was born and raised in Southern California. I received my BA from UCSB and went on to get my teaching credential from SFSU. Our family loves Marin because we can enjoy so many of our favorite activities like swimming, hiking, rock climbing, and camping. In my spare time I love to garden, bake, and sew. I love sewing Halloween costumes for my kids! Bel Aire is a great school and I look forward to being your teacher!"

And Stephanie Bjeldanes. "Hi! My name is Stephanie Bjeldanes (Be-yell-dan-es) and I am thrilled to be returning to Bel Aire Elementary School this year as a fifth grade teacher. I was born and raised in Berkeley, California and attended public schools in the area. After high school, I was accepted to UC Berkeley and earned an undergraduate degree in Anthropology. During that time I worked as a masters' swim coach and rowed on UCB's crew team. After graduating from UCB, I attended St. Mary's College, where I obtained a multiple subject teaching credential. Two months before my credentialing program ended, I was offered a job as a computer instructor/coordinator at a local school. I continued to teach K-6 computer classes for five years and enjoyed the challenge of creating an academic program from scratch. Eventually, I felt the need to experience teaching and bonding with one class of children at a time. I was offered a teaching position at Kensington Elementary School where I taught third, fourth, and fifth grades for seven years.

I live in Mill Valley and take full advantage of all it has to offer. I spend many of my weekends and evenings hiking, mountain biking, playing volleyball, cooking, and spending time with friends. I am looking forward to a wonderful year full of challenges, rewards, and many new friends."

I enjoyed meeting each of them very much and look forward to working with and getting to know both of them better. Again, I think these greetings are from last year, when Stephanie was teaching fifth grade. She is excited about teaching third grade this year and said she has been teaching for 15 years now.

Both Kendra and Stephanie have little boys, near Sam's age, in their lives. Kendra is the mother of two children. One of whom is a fourth grade boy. Stephanie recently married a man with two children and in the process became the step-mom of a boy who just turned ten.

On the school grounds, I met a family who have a boy who is in fourth grade at Bel Aire. I'm not sure if Willie is in Sam's class or not but his mom said they was going to have to keep and eye out for Sam. It was awesome to be able to say I'd introduce the kids at recess.

Tomorrow, Sam starts. Wish us luck.

Are you going back to school this fall? If so, I'd love to hear about it.


Cameron said...

Good luck babe!

I know you both will do great at Bel Aire.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mary,

What a sweet shout out! I love Sam so much! I will miss him this year. He did such an amazing job in third grade. I know he will do some great things in fourth! You too! You will be great at that school. Your heart is so big...they are lucky to have you. What a loss for Bell! Love, Nicole

Carma said...

Sounds like a really great school.
I hope Same enjoys his days and you are able to feel like you are making a difference. I am sure the teachers that you are working with will really love having you there.

I think I need to go check out what the school system is going to be having in the way of adult education classes. (Took Belly Dancing a couple times.) Brian is acting all interested in a cooking class together.