District News & Events
I am pleased to announce that Dara Flom, first grade teacher at Willard Elementary School, has been selected as the 2017 Teacher of the Year for the Berlin Public Schools.
Dara has been a first grade teacher at Willard Elementary School for the past three years. Before coming to Berlin, she was a long-term sub and intervention tutor in Middletown. She is a graduate of Wheelock College in Boston, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s degree in language and literacy.
Dara has an energetic personality and demeanor. Students in Dara’s class develop confidence and problem-solving skills. As described by her colleague, Tricia Burnham, Dara strives to “impact her students in a positive way throughout their whole lives. She wants students who are excited to come to school every day and know that they will be supported by her and their classmates when they take risks and will never be ridiculed.” She makes personal connections with each student that continue even after they have left her classroom. Previous students often stop by her room to share their progress or ask for advice.
In her classroom, Dara uses a variety of effective teaching techniques and technology aides. She finds creative ways to practice math facts and sight words including using fly swatters on the smartboard to play sight word or math fact slap. In her video submission to the Teacher of the Year Committee, Dara presented a lesson to her first grade students on what to do when they come to a section of their reading that they do not understand. She explained that even good readers come to parts that they do not understand, and they need to read it again or discuss with a friend. During this lesson she used multiple best practices of instruction that ensured her students obtained the tools they needed for future reading success.
Outside of the classroom, Dara is a member of numerous committees including Curriculum Council, District Instructional Rounds Team, Internal Rounds Team, Willard School Climate Committee and District Report Card Committee. She is a grade one team leader and supports her colleagues by asking questions and sharing ideas. Colleagues know that she is someone they can go to for help, and she will always be willing to discuss and collaborate. Dara has proven that you do not need to be a veteran teacher to have a lasting impact on students and colleagues.
This will be an exciting year for Dara. She will be a speaker at the Convocation in August and will be honored at the Annual Board of Education Meeting in November. Please join me in congratulating Dara as the 2017 Teacher of the Year for the Berlin Public Schools.