Jennifer Deaton of Kate Sessions Elementary School is the SDCCU Classroom Heroes recipient for March 2019. Lisa teaches second grade in the San Diego Unified School District, and is a dedicated educator who goes above and beyond for her students.
Lisa was nominated for the SDCCU Classroom Heroes program by a parent of one of her students, who wrote: Mrs. Jennifer Deaton’s complete commitment to helping students love learning makes her a Classroom Hero (aka our Teaching Superhero). We noticed Mrs. Deaton before our daughter, Emma, was fortunate enough to be her student. In our daughter’s elementary school, teachers rotate supervising locations as student come into school in the morning. They say hello and help direct children and their families. While this is an appreciated function, Mrs. Deaton takes her responsibility to the next level by holding a two-sided dry-erase board with different levels of math problems, inviting children to try to solve the equations as they walk by on their way to class. Our daughter had been starting to get discouraged in math, when we noticed Mrs. Deaton captivate Emma’s attention with a math board as we’d walk by in the morning. Emma didn’t say anything, but we could see her eyes turn up toward the board as she’d try to solve the math problem. At first Emma would only tell me, but eventually she built up her courage to share her answer with Mrs. Deaton, who would celebrate correct answers and gently try to learn more when the answer was off , saying thingslike, “Close; tell me how you’re thinking about this problem...”. Mrs. Deaton’s approach help students discern what they are doing correctly and build from there. I was fascinated by Mrs. Deaton’s ability to engage Emma in math on our way into school and asked around to learn more about this inspiring teacher. Many others already knew about the exceptional 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Deaton, affirming all I had observed about her special ability to engage students in learning. Before the beginning of this academic year, we held our breath and prayed we’d get Mrs. Deaton, but we knew the odds were against us. Blessed by a miracle, our daughter, Emma, was placed in her class and I knew this would be a pivotal year.
Emma had just started to express not liking school, which we attributed to becoming disconnected in the classroom. Mrs. Deaton was quick to redirect Emma and reignite her enthusiasm for school and learning. As part of our welcome to Mrs. Deaton’s class she shared a welcome letter introducing us to the idea of “Fun Theory” suggesting if you make learning fun, students will be engaged and learn more. In her welcome letter, Mrs. Deaton also shared some of her unique ways to engage her students, including creating a FACEing Math book for students. The FACEing Math program combines art with math as students create a character’s face based on their answers to math problems. Emma’s enjoyed seeing a silly monster come to life as she solves math equations.
The SDCCU Classroom Heroes program recognizes outstanding educators and the tremendous impact they have on their students. The program was launched in March of 2015 and has already honored dozens of teachers at schools throughout San Diego County. Teachers, students, parents, and community members are all encouraged to nominate an outstanding educator by visiting this page.