Ripon College, WACTE recognize area teachers for professional excellence

Teachers in the Ripon Area School District and the Kettle Moraine School District have been honored as outstanding educators by Ripon College and the Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (WACTE). Both have ties to Ripon College.

Maitlin Arts ’19, a seventh-grade English/language arts teacher at Kettle Moraine Middle School in Dousman, Wisconsin, received the Early Career Educator Award, presented to educators within the first three years of their careers. It is based on their positive effect on schools or communities, their innovation in designing learning experiences and their advocacy for students.

Sandra Polcyn, the recently retired band teacher at Ripon High School, received the Pre-Service Educator Mentor Award, presented to educators who have demonstrated a sustained pattern of mentoring pre-service educators for at least five years. She also serves as a adjunct instructor of music at Ripon College.

They were selected based on abilities like modeling professional responsibility and effective classroom management. Polcyn has served as a mentor for numerous clinical, practicum students and student teachers from Ripon College, and she also has been an adjunct instructor at the College.

Michael Comiskey, principal at Kettle Moraine Middle School, said, “Maitlin designed a great reading/language arts experience that connected to students’ lives in novel ways. She collaborated with her social studies colleague to design a literacy unit. Her students read a memoir by the daughter of baseball groundbreaker Jackie Robinson. Throughout her lessons, Maitlin incorporated other elements of the culture of the late 50’s/ early 60’s which complemented her colleague’s unit about the Civil Rights era and civil disobedience. The final project was a ‘fair’ with students sharing their research with each other and our whole school.

“Maitlin has developed positive relationships with her students and she shows grace and kindness to the students who are struggling both academically and emotionally. She has demonstrated forgiveness and is looking for ways to move forward respectfully and productively.”

Polcyn was nominated by the Educational Studies and Music departments at Ripon College based on her long history of mentoring students and the comments received from students who work with her. “She is an excellent model for our music education students,” the nomination reads. “Sandy demonstrates a desire to help mentor our next generation of teachers. We thank her for her service.”

This is the eighth year WACTE has sponsored the Early Career and Pre-Service Educator Mentor Awards. Ripon College is a member of WACTE, a professional organization composed of Wisconsin institutions that prepare individuals for teacher licensure. WACTE educator preparation programs offer diversity in size, focus and delivery, but all are designed to prepare quality teachers for Wisconsin’s schools. WACTE is an affiliate of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

(Photo: Maitlin Arts ’19, left, and Sandra Polcyn)

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