SedonaKind and KIS Give a Shoutout to Kim Jackson Sedona's Teacher of the Year
One of the joys of KIS is going into our elementary schools, engaging with the absolutely wonderful children, and getting to know the amazing teachers in the classrooms we visit. Kim Jackson is a first grade teacher we had the privilege to get to know, and she has just won the Teacher of the Year at West Sedona. Congratulations Kim!
This isn’t her first award, either. In 2007, she won Teacher of the Year at Big Park School. And in the 23 years that she has been teaching, she’s been bringing that kind of award winning dedication, skill, and creativity to all her classes. We were lucky enough to see it firsthand.
When we talked to Kim, she said the hardest part of the COVID-19 shut down was not being able to see her students’ smiling faces every day. Her favorite part of the day was the 20 minutes before class starts, when the children come in for the free breakfasts. “I love just sitting in the back of the room and listening to their stories, their perspectives, what’s going on in their lives, hearing them laugh and relate to each other.”
Kim’s greatest joy is setting these kids on the journey of literacy. “I love how excited the kids are at this age, as they begin to see what reading and writing can mean to them, and I love how the KIS books and puppet plays reinforce what we’re doing in the classroom.”She says her biggest challenge each year is building a classroom sense of community, so all the children are comfortable enough to participate. She talks to them about how a city, a family, and a classroom can be a community, and together they create the one they want to live in for the year. “The children come up with their own rules, how they want to treat each other, and how they want me to treat them. We make a classroom contract, and everybody, including me signs it.” Four of the principles the children chose to follow this past year were “Don’t hit, participate, respect each other, and be kind.”That’s a pretty wonderful set of goals for everyone to follow, especially in these troubled times.
Kim makes learning and reading so much fun. This year, during Read Across America Day, she invited parents, firemen, and community volunteers to come in and read Dr. Seuss books. “The kids loved it. Then we all had a lunch of green eggs and ham!” Every week she also held a Mystery Bag game, where a student brings in a mystery item from home, and answers questions until someone guesses the item. “It’s a fun game, but the students are also building language skills, presentation skills, and confidence.” In addition, her Leader Project allows each student to be a leader in the classroom for an entire week.
At the end of the year, Kim creates a scrapbook for each student, to remind them of their accomplishments and fun they had in their first grade year. KIS knows that they wouldn’t need a scrapbook to remember Mrs. Jackson. Every time they read a book, or write a story, or become a participant as a member of a community, they’ll remember where they began to learn those life skills.
So again, congratulations, Kim, and heartfelt thanks for all the time, effort, skills and love you put into your classrooms.
SedonaKind PO Box 3059 Sedona, AZ 86340
SedonaKind meets the 3rd Friday of each Month from September to May. We meet at the Sedona Library in West Sedona at 10:00a.m. We ask that only fully Covid vaccinated individuals attend.