Staff Spotlight - Carney Academy's Grade 3 Team

Staff Spotlight - Carney Academy's Grade 3 Team
Pictured - Carney Grade 3 teachers (l-r) Stacey Sullivan, Brenda Rocha, Elizabeth Louro and Laura Chevalier. Not pictured: Alexandria Rioux, special education tutor.
 
With a diverse team of teachers at Carney Academy’s Grade 3, with some teachers who’ve been at the school for a few years and others a few decades, this grade’s team has a track record of working together – and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
 
“We trust each other,” said Brenda Rocha, who is in her second year at Carney and previous taught at Hannigan School. “You have to respect and trust your colleagues to work together.”
 
Stacy Sullivan, in her 11th year teaching but her second at Carney, said it’s about acknowledging or working with the data, but more importantly seeing what’s behind the numbers.
 
“The whole child is important, and we all share that same philosophy,” said Ms. Sullivan.

And it’s about thinking not just about one class, but about every child in the grade.
 
“When we plan anything, whether it’s a special event or part of a lesson, it’s not just what to plan for my class – it’s what we’ll plan for the whole grade,” said Elizabeth Louro, in her 31st year at Carney.
 
Another key to the success of the Grade 3 team: “Everyone pulls their weight,” says teacher Laura Chevalier.
 
“There are no lazy people on this team, and that really matters. Everyone cares,” said Ms. Chevalier, who has been at Carney for nine years.
 
And with the focus on results for kids, the team says there is no room for competition among one another.
 
“For example, I was in the middle of a lesson the other day and my kids were looking at me like a deer in the headlights,” said Ms. Rocha. “So I asked Ms. Sullivan to come in, and I wasn’t worried, I knew she wouldn’t judge me – and she talked through the concept with them and something just clicked with them.”
 
“It’s all for one and one for all,” said Ms. Chevalier.
 
Principal Karen Treadup said, “Someone once said, ‘Growth is never by mere chance, it is the result of forces working together.’ The third grade team at Carney Academy is proof of that. These ladies have created a culture of collaboration and teamwork, and it shows through the growth and success of their students.”
 
But just how did this team become so tight-knit?
 
“It was kind of a perfect storm,” said Ms. Chevalier. “Ms. Louro and I were a longtime team, And Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Rocha were a longtime team, and so together, we all made it work.”

“It felt from the beginning like a team,” said Ms. Rocha. The four classroom teachers work with a fifth dedicated member of their team, special education tutor Alexandria Rioux, who is a key member of the team.

“Coming into a new building, it was great to feel right away that we were part of a team,” said Ms. Sullivan. “And a team of four became so much better than a team of two.”
 
Their advice to other educators looking to replicate their team is simple but important.
 
“You have to go in with a positive and open mind, that this is going to make my life better and easier, and it’s going to help these children learn,” said Ms. Chevalier.
 
Additionally, it’s key to use time well together to plan ahead.
 
“I think when we use common planning time, we really do use it for planning,” said Ms. Sullivan. “We have a set topic, we come in prepared and with data ready.”
 
“When people get together, instead of doing it individually, it’s our time together and it’s spent wisely,” said Ms. Louro.
 
“We’re working smarter and sharing the load,” added Ms. Rocha. “And when they get to 4th Grade, they’re at the same level,” with all children ready to succeed in Grade 4.
 
Based on their team and the achievement of their students, Superintendent Pia Durkin said, “This team exemplifies best practices when it comes to working together, and making a difference for kids. They have worked through issues to focus on the ‘greater good’ knowing the stronger impact they can make in working together.”