This week we introduce another new member to the project, Jana Holt. She teaches 4th grade ELA at Union Chapel Elementary in the Park Hill School District.
Her students are amazing! She has two groups of kids for the first time. Her morning group is her homeroom, and the afternoon group is a group who looped with their teacher from 3rd grade and have been together for 3rd and now 4th grade. All of these kiddos are amazingly compassionate and many come from diverse homes.
Jana sees herself as a passionate teacher of reading and writing. She has high expectations and strives to create a classroom community that functions like a family. In her family-like atmosphere, learning comes alive when students feel they have a voice, a choice and a purpose in their learning. They need to feel comfortable with asking questions and investigating within their learning. When their learning can carry over to the real world, students will become more engaged and inspired.
She defines community as a group of people living in the same area and who share places, beliefs and characteristics. Personally, Jana grew up in a university town where the schools were the hub of the community. In a small town, everyone develops a closeness and commonality among each other. She describes herself as a homebody who values togetherness. Moving to the city, she misses this sense of a close knit community where people truly value each other.
At Union Chapel, community is fostered by striving to create consistency among the classrooms. They work hard to incorporate opportunities for cooperative learning and teamwork. This provides a sense of equity among students and therefore a sense of community.
Jana was drawn to this project because she was inspired by the idea of giving kids a view of their community outside of their school and their neighborhood. She values giving students a voice, and the idea of allowing my students’ voices to be heard around the metro area was an opportunity she could not pass up.
Welcome to the project, Jana! We are so excited to have you!