There is more to teaching than presenting materials. It's about making connections and showing students they matter. Jennifer Spina does that every day at the West Street School in Geneva. We surprise her with a News 8 Golden Apple Award.
Whether it's bouncing and counting. Bringing out the classroom bunny or bringing in her own dog Duke for a visit, Jennifer Spina does whatever it takes to help her kids learn.
Principal Nina McCarthy says "She knows exactly what a student needs. She's very meticulous with her language and how she explains to them the lessons."
Young Beth Cohrs and her Mom Tiffany asked us to surprise Mrs. Spina. Beth is a 3rd Grader now. "She always made learning fun and I was lucky to have her in first and second grade. She also did things with us outside of school which showed that she really cared."
Beth's Mom Tiffany knows a good teacher when she sees one. She teaches in Lyons. "I just think that there's no other teacher that puts more of themselves into their work. and she really loves what she does and it shows every single day."
Mrs. Spina was stunned when we walked in the door. "I am just thrilled and so surprised. Thank you so much. I see this on TV all the time!"
Jennifer has been teaching for two decades. Kids like Beth and grateful parents like Tiffany are why she loves it. "I think it's very important so that the children understand that mommy and daddy cares as much as the teacher does. and that we can all work together and I think that's extremely important that we do that every day at school."
Jennifer Spina is a News 8 Golden Apple Award winner. If you scroll down you can read the letter we received from the Cohrs' family nominating her.
Dear News 8,
Mrs. Jennifer Spina is a one in a million teacher. She is the teacher that every child dreams of having. Every child she comes in contact with is touched in a unique way. She is able to reach and motivate all children. She makes learning exciting for her entire class. Her unique ability to understand her students allows her to help them achieve more than they had ever imagined.
She knows how to not only connect with children, but families as well. Her easy going supportive atmosphere allows for families to feel welcome in her classroom. This is reflected in the growth of her students, learning needs to be supported in the home as well. Having a teacher that can effectively work with families is vital to the success of children.
I know that Mrs. Spina has touched many children's lives in the City of Geneva. She is someone that goes above and beyond on a daily basis. The extra time she spends is amazing. She also goes to outside events that her students are involved in such as, sporting events. All of the extras she does makes her students know how important they are to her.
I have not even scratched the surface of how wonderful Mrs. Spina is. Her caring, positive, and innovative teaching style makes her a teacher that you can't forget.
Parent, West Street School, Geneva