Saturday, June 17, 2017

An Interview with a Very Special Champlain Teacher Ms. Jill Sikora-Cain and Thank You!

DD: When did you first start teaching, and what did you teach?

JSC: I began my career working as a substitute teacher, kindergarten through twelfth grade, in the Boulder/Denver, Colorado area.  My first full-time teaching position was working at a private school in Boulder. I taught fifth and sixth grades for three years. My career at Champlain Elementary began in 1987 as a fourth grade teacher, but most of my time since then has been working at the third grade level.  

DD: What is your favorite topic to teach?

JSC: My favorite topic to teach is art.  Over the years, I have incorporated art into many subject areas, especially science and social studies.

DD: In your view, what are the best things parents can do to support their children's success in school?

JSC: For children to be successful in school, it is important for parents to spend quality time with their children, ask questions, read together, emphasize the intangibles in life, and instill a sense that learning and knowledge is essential to their wellbeing and long-term success.

DD: Many teachers are baby boomers and are retiring quickly. Without their wealth of knowledge to benefit young teachers, what advice would you give them today?

JSC: To new teachers everywhere, my advice to you is to stay organized, remember all of the good you are doing when things are difficult, and, most importantly, relax and have fun with the kids.

DD: What is one of your best memories of Champlain?

JSC: It’s the incredible faculty and staff members that I have had the privilege of working with over the past thirty years who I will always remember. Over the years, the Champlain community has been blessed to have such a remarkable group of dedicated teachers and staff.

DD: What are your retirement plans?

JSC: During retirement I plan to spend more time outside. I enjoy gardening, hiking, skiing, scuba diving, and traveling. Hopefully, I will have more time for family and friends.

DD: What else would you like to tell our Champlain community?

JSC: Keep up the good work!  It is noble work that truly and positively impacts each student and our community generally.
Thank You for a Wonderful School Year!
On behalf of the entire Champlain faculty and staff, I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to the hundreds of kind and caring parents, guardians, and community members who have contributed their time and energy to the students of Champlain. From volunteering in Morning Champions and classrooms to chaperoning field trips and co-curricular activities, the love and devotion of your commitment have affirmed my ideals for Vermont and my hopes for our country.

This year Champlain embarked on a new approach to student behavior management with restorative practices and peer mediation. Our students and parents/guardians understood this philosophy of educational justice and participated in conversations that repaired relationships and taught social-emotional skills. In this way, we reduced detentions and suspensions and increased Lunch Bunch groups and mentoring activities. Without your patience, understanding, and forgiveness, restorative practices could not succeed.

In addition, Champlain’s Parent-Teacher Organization continually brings many voices together and supports the learning of all students by organizing exciting family activities, such as the Harvest Fest, Trivia Night, and the Fun Run. In turn, these activities allow the PTO to raise funds and give grants that directly support our classroom instruction, field trips, artist residencies, peer mediation, and more. Thank you, everyone, for getting involved and making a positive difference in our school!

From Peter Pan’s “I Won’t Grow Up” - Dr. D’s Adaptation for Champlain’s 2017 Step Up Day
I wanna grow up.
(I wanna grow up)
And go to middle school.
(And go to middle school)
Take a lot of different classes.
(Take a lot of different classes)
And be nobody’s fool!
(And be nobody’s fool)
Since growing up means
It would be, the time for every opportunity
I am growing up, growing right up, growing on up
That’s me!
It is I,
It’s me!
Yes, me!
I wanna grow up.
(I wanna grow up)
I want to meet new friends.
(I want to meet new friends)
Do my absolute best.
(Do my absolute best)
Start cool new trends.
(Start cool new trends)
And if it means I must prepare
To learn and work and take good care
I am growing up, growing right up, growing on up
Yes me,
Yes I,
Yes me!
I’m there!
I wanna grow up.
(I wanna grow up)
Gonna grow to the best.
(Gonna grow to the best)
You’ll see me succeed.
(You’ll see me succeed)
And help all the rest.
(And help all the rest)
'Cause middle school is awfully great
No reason for anymore debate
I am growing up, growing right up, growing on up
Yes me,
Middle school,
Here I go,
Growing up! 

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