Wood Substitute Teacher Receives Childsplay Award
At Tempe Elementary, we are very fortunate to have substitute teachers who go the extra mile. Certified Substitute Gracie Calderon recently won an award from Childsplay for her outstanding work as a long-term substitute at Wood Elementary.
Third-Grade Teacher Brittany Barnes nominated Calderon for the Imagination and Wonder Award given by Childsplay on April 11. Barnes nominated Calderon because of her passion to go above and beyond her expected duties as a substitute teacher.
“In Gracie’s time at Wood, she has helped to fully integrate art into our curriculum,” said Barnes. “She continually had her students do songs, poems, dances, and art projects to bring social studies alive!”
Calderon signed up as a substitute for a fellow Wood third-grade teacher who had to take leave in early August. Although Calderon only planned to be at Wood for three weeks, she ended up staying for three quarters of the year until the Wood teacher returned.
“Our Wood family was a little worried about who would be substituting for our third-grade class,” explained Barnes. “But what they got was an inspiring educator who taught students to love the arts alongside English Language Development (ELD).”
As a retired teacher of Tempe Elementary, Calderon was more than capable of bringing in unique and creative curriculum for her class. In her time at Wood, Calderon has planned multiple artistic performances throughout the school year, encouraged artistic expression through song and dance, and has taught engaging social studies lessons that honor her students’ cultures as well as introducing new ones.
“Gracie has already given her years of service to our District, but she keeps coming back to enrich the lives of students,” said Barnes.
Although the assigned teacher is back for the last quarter of the year, Calderon’s impact and inspiration is still thriving. Her students have developed a true interest in culture and arts and continue to show that in their work. She has substituted for other teachers at Wood Elementary, and had made the commitment to return the last week of school to support a fourth-grade class whose teacher will be out of the state for his son's college graduation.
“I am only a fourth-year teacher, and to see such a great role model integrate art into our busy schedule makes me inspired to do the same,” said Barnes. “I am lucky to have worked with such a passionate educator.”