Chicago Teacher Residency Names Final Values Award Recipients of School Year

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Publish date: May 22, 2024
Categories: News from the Network
Post author: Sal Navarro

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Throughout the year, the Chicago Teacher Residency distributes CTR Values Awards to current Residents that embody three values: Student-Centered, Equity-Driven, and Courage to Persist. CTR staff celebrated the following award recipients at Professional Development meetings in April and May to close out the 2023-2023 school year.


Maya Martinez (Student-Centered)
“Maya has been nominated for the Values Award because of her student-centered approach to teaching! Maya is always looking for ways to improve her teaching so that she is doing the best for her students. Maya’s instruction is often scaffolded to fit all of the needs of her students while also making it enjoyable for everyone in the classroom. Maya is invested in the WHOLE community at her school and has even volunteered on her DePaul days to lead clubs at Earle. Congratulations Maya!”


Kennedy Lewis (Student-Centered)
“If there was an official picture associated with the definition of student-centered, it would be a picture of Kennedy teaching. Kennedy has always poured herself into her classroom and students. She constantly shows them gratitude, kindness, enthusiasm, and encouragement to be critical learners that love to learn. Her energy lights up a classroom!”


Kaylin Janicke (Student-Centered)
“Kaylin has grown so much throughout this program and is always pushing her students to achieve more within her science classroom. I have seen firsthand how much time and effort she puts into making sure her students are engaged in the science she teaches. She is an inspiration to me as an educator and as a current student herself, she never ceases to impress. You can tell at first glance that her students value the support she gives them in their activities in and out of the classroom. Kaylin is THAT student-centered science teacher all our kids deserve. Kaylin has brought her A-game every week we’ve been here, which would be easy to see in just the classes I have with her, but she has also shared assignment organizers and trackers she’s created that help her stay as organized as she is. It would be easy to let some of these things slip as we have had more and more on our plates, but Kaylin has kept up with it all.”


Amya Bell (Student-Centered)
“Amya is a consummate professional, always prepared and advocating for her students’ learning. Her continuous search for ways to further her learning and understanding to better serve the communities she immerses herself in is a testament to her commitment to enriching the lives of her students. Her overall approach to learning makes Amya a strong force and someone to watch out for on her educator journey.”


Mara Ayala (Student-Centered)
“For Mara, being student-centered is not an approach to teaching, but rather a part of her nature. I have heard Mara passionately describe how she loves to make connections with the high schoolers she teaches and how she believes her students are the “most interesting people in the world.” During my host visit to Chicago Academy, I was able to witness firsthand how Mara interacts with her students with care and genuine interest in their lives. She encourages and supports students who are struggling, and empowers them to strive for excellence, even when they are not working with a preferred medium. Mara has also worked hard to create an inclusive environment for her ELL students by translating and making sure their needs are met in the classroom. Mara’s experience and dedication to students make her the kind of teacher CPS students deserve and her classroom next year will no doubt be a place where students will thrive.”


Tatum Hansen (Courage to Persist)
“Tatum is the definition of ‘Courage to Persist.’ No matter what has happened this year, she has never wavered in her dedication to the program and more importantly to her students. Her perseverance, adaptiveness and strength is admirable to me as a human and an educator. I know that Tatum has what it takes to make a positive impact in the lives of her future students just as she has been an inspiration to me and the rest of our cohort. I can’t wait to continue watching her empower today’s youth to be tomorrow’s leaders by passing on her own skills of courage and strength.”


Tangee Watts (Courage to Persist)
“Tangee exemplifies the CTR value ‘Courage to Persist.’ Inside and outside of the classroom, she is quick on her feet, resilient, and determined. Tangee is prepared everyday to teach her students and ensure that they access and master the material. She is extremely thorough in her lesson planning, IEP drafts, and tracking of student progress. Tangee has built meaningful relationships with her students and makes the classroom a place where everyone feels accepted and learns. Stamina is necessary to have as a teacher. Tangee has that and then some, as she has the courage to persist!”


Nora Ahrens (Student-Centered)
“Nora is the embodiment of being student centered. She cares deeply for her students both personally and academically, and excels at making meaningful connections with them. She is enthusiastic, patient, and makes learning fun. She even makes the time to interact with my class in the hallway, which my students love. My class thinks highly enough of her to ask me about Ms. Ahrens all the time! Funston is lucky to have Nora again next year. Go Falcons!”


Sara Serritos (Equity Focused)
“Sara has been an exceptional resident this school year. She goes above and beyond her daily responsibilities to ensure student equity. Each day, she prepares rigorous, data-driven literacy lessons based on student individual misconceptions. She exemplifies equity in the way that she tailors each lesson to each individual student’s needs. With her beautiful permanent smile, she always talks about how much she loves being a high school DL teacher because she helps students complete the big step of graduating. Her responsiveness, responsibility and drive all make Sarita deserving of the Equity Driven award.”


Alejandra Salcedo (Courage to Persist)
“Alejandra has been pushing herself to go beyond her comfort zones to become a great educator and work in a demanding environment. She has quick changes from one art subject to another with multiple different projects going on. She has long travel times on public transportation and has stood strong and committed to being at her site everyday, ready to help students put their best foot forward.”

Congratulations to these ten Residents for living out CTR values in their work ethic, classrooms and school communities!

Do you know someone that wants to become a teacher in Chicago? Refer them to the Chicago Teacher Residency here and get rewarded with Visa gift card incentives!

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