Alissa Chamberland was nominated by her colleague, Jennifer Graham.
Ms. Chamberland has had an extremely positive impact on the students and adults at Riverside Middle School. Her first priority is her students, and it's evident in everything that she does. Although her primary responsibility is teaching students to read, she is also committed to them in a variety of other ways.
In her classroom, Ms. Chamberland is constantly looking for new ways to reach her students. She has embraced the Blended Learning movement and has created opportunities for personalized instruction for each of the students in her class. She regularly conferences with students and assists them with setting their own goals and tracking their own progress on a weekly basis. Ms. Chamberland helps them to own their learning and teaches them how to learn for themselves. She constantly attends professional development in order to refine her teaching skills and try something new to help students make progress.
Outside of her classroom, Ms. Chamberland shows dedication to the students and adults at Riverside Middle School. As a co-editor of the yearbook, she attends many school events to support her students and strengthen the school community. She leads the student-directed yearbook club and spends many hours of her own time organizing the yearbook photos and captions so that every student can remember the school year in a positive manner. Ms. Chamberland also chaperones many school dances, helps with the school culture committee, and organizes the 8th grade trip to Washington DC. Doing any one of these things alone would be no small feat, but she manages to do it all because she has a strong belief in the benefits of having these initiatives for the students.
Ms. Chamberland is also the MTSS facilitator for Riverside Middle School. In this capacity, she spends many hours looking at student data to help close gaps for tier-2 and tier-3 interventions, both academically and behaviorally. She has been working very hard to create pilot programs for the tier-2 and tier-3 students and support the use of the middle school schedule to best serve the students' needs.
"It is because of her work that the students have shown significant academic gains this year. Next year, she has big plans to start focusing on the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students, as well," Graham said.
Ms. Chamberland also hosts a check-in program during her homeroom time in which she meets with individual students to start their day off right and set goals for upcoming assignments or social interactions throughout their day. She enjoys working with students to help them navigate their middle school years and to learn from their mistakes. Without her effort, many students who have gaps academically or behaviourally would not have gotten the services they need to close them and be able to work efficiently on grade level.
"Alissa has done so much to support the kids at Riverside Middle School in a variety of ways," Graham said. "She is well known by the students around the building, even those who have never walked through her classroom doors. She has gained the respect of many students, parents and co-workers in the building through all of her efforts. Alissa was recognized as Riverside's teacher of the year as a result of her efforts, which also shows the admiration and respect she has within the building and the district."
Ms. Chamberland models and cultivates a sense of community with the adults in the building. This year, she was not only a member of the Culture Club, but she was also a driving force behind many of the after-school get-togethers and small tokens of thanks that were presented to the adults. Ms. Chamberland also makes herself available to help other teachers with the use of technology in their classroom. She is often the first person they go to when they have a question, and she has an open door policy in her classroom that welcomes other teachers to come in and see what she does on a daily basis. She organizes and leads professional development for the staff and collaborates cohesively with the district intervention coach to train staff on appropriate tier 2 interventions for students.
As an active member of the Teacher Leadership Academy, Ms. Chamberland serves on a committee of Elementary, Middle, and High School teachers to help students with transitions between these levels during their educational career. She is well-respected in her building and district. She models the kind of culture and family oriented environment that she takes pride in at Riverside Middle School.
"It is easy to see that Alissa is incredibly involved with the school atmosphere," Graham said. "As yearbook co-advisor, MTSS facilitator, Culture Club member, and Reading Specialist, her impact is all encompassing. It is difficult to explain just how much these interactions benefit the school community as a whole. If you were to come to Riverside Middle School and interview students, parents, and staff, you would easily be able to see the impact Alissa has had on the environment and the people of Riverside."