#14 December 14, 2019

14. December 14, 2019

Hello Black River Falls community!  This is Dr. Shelly Severson, Superintendent of the SDBRF, and I’m here to share this weeks’ Spotlight on Schools.  This week I wanted to recognize one of our exceptional teacher leaders at the high school. Megan Finch has worked for the SDBRF for the past twenty plus years and has served in many roles during that time.  She has been a Business Education Teacher at the high school throughout, but has also taught keyboarding at Red Creek, she facilitates the concession stand at the Field House through her entrepreneur class, serves as a mentor teacher to new staff, and new this year, serves as an instructional coach within the high school.

Why are we highlighting Megan today?  Well, if you’ve had a conversation with her, there are many things that make her fabulous!  But specifically today, we are recognizing her for an incredible accomplishment that she has just achieved; Megan Finch recently joined the ranks of those individuals that are Nationally Board Certified Teachers.  In the state of Wisconsin, approximately 2.3% of all teachers earn this credential. Nationally, the average is a little higher, however, Wisconsin is right smack in the middle of the country according to this ranking.

What does this mean?  Issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the certification takes 1 to 3 years to complete and is the highest professional certification a teacher can earn.  The process is incredibly rigorous and requires countless hours of application. As with most Board Certifications, it ends with a computerized test measuring subject and pedagogical knowledge.  However, it is FAR more intensive than studying for a test! There is a portfolio of student work and an explanation of how it illustrates the teacher’s capabilities, in classroom video and written analysis to demonstrate student interaction skills, and an Effective and Reflective Practitioner component that forces the individual to regularly use data in their planning and to apply different learning theories in the classroom in an effort to move all kids forward.  While you may say that all teachers do this, which is true at some level, however, the intensity and rigor of the expectations through these National Standards is considerable! THUS, only 2.3% of all Wisconsin teachers achieve this accomplishment!  

What is perhaps even more exciting, is that as Megan pushed through this through her own motivation, she is now working to facilitate a pathway for other teachers in Black River Falls to follow suite.  After teaching for more than twenty years, you can imagine how many different professional development sessions and topics Megan has actively participated in...she said that this process, hands down, was the best growth opportunity she has ever participated in!  She sees a direct connection to the work she does with our students. We are SO proud of her!!! While we are talking about how fabulous Ms. Finch is, when you see her, please congratulate her for her amazing dedication to her profession and to our students, but also ask her where she watched the most recent Royal Wedding...

I always end my Spotlight with some positive feedback from a parent from one of our surveys.  This week I’m going to share something a grandparent said to me at the kindergarten and first grade concert last night.  “Mrs. Gawron and Mrs. Cowles are magicians! I have a LOT of grandchildren and that is the best Christmas concert I have ever been to!  All of the kids were enthusiastic and as little as they were, all knew the words and the actions to the songs. Those two ladies put me in the holiday spirit!”  She asked me to thank these ladies, so here it is! Thank you to Mrs. Gawron, Mrs. Cowles, and all of our music teachers within the District. This month, above all others, they transform our community through their beautiful holiday music!  This weekend is the very traditional Madrigal Dinner - another inspiring holiday tradition for our wonderful community!

As always, if you have any questions or comments about this, or anything else within the District, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  Thanks for all you do to support our students, and let’s show our Tiger pride in all that we do!

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