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Cardinal Burke teacher awardee relishes fun, hands-on learning



Lisa Johnston |

In Kathy Reid's first-grade class at St. Ann School in Normandy, students don't just count the days they've been in school -- they sing about them.

Reid leads her students with a guitar on a sing-along, marking the 147th day in the classroom this year. It's that kind of fun, hands-on approach that Reid said she prefers to use with her students, and she's seeing the fruits of those efforts.

Reid is one of 11 teachers in the archdiocese who will be recognized in May as recipients of the Cardinal Raymond L. Burke Teacher Recognition Award. The awards, sponsored by the archdiocesan Catholic Education Center, will be presented at a ceremony Tuesday, May 6, at the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsbury. Each recipient is being recognized for outstanding achievement and demonstration of several methods and techniques considered "best practices" in education.

Since the time she was a teenager helping at a camp for children with disabilities, Reid knew she wanted to go into education. She's taught for almost 25 years now, including almost a decade with Special School District and 15 years at St. Ann School.

With her background in special education, Reid said she's learned how to respond carefully to students' varied learning styles. Incorporating different learning models, she has individualized the learning experience for each of her 19 students.

Over the years, Reid said that her teaching style has evolved to accommodate newer technology, such as Smart Boards, and the evolution of the school's population. More often than not, students "learn from what they do, and (learn) what they sing," she said. "We do a lot of hands-on activities, especially with subjects like math."

Reid isn't afraid to let her classroom "get a little loud," as she explained. With her guitar accompaniment, students also sang a song about the month of April set to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," and another tune about the months of the year to the 1990s pop song "Macarena."

Singing and learning at the same time is "a great cross-brain activity," she said.

The best part of being a teacher, she said, "is not when they just make the connection (with the lesson) but when they make the connection on their own. You can see it all over their faces. This group is very celebratory -- when they get something, they're like, 'Yes!'"

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke 2014 Teacher Recognition Awards

Elementary Schools

Kate Black, St. Ambrose School, south St. Louis

Teresa Killian, St. Justin Martyr School, Sunset Hills

Melissa Liszewski, Sacred Heart School, Troy

Linda Morris, St. Gabriel the Archangel School, south St. Louis

Kathy Reid, St. Ann School, Normandy

Susan Rueter, Sacred Heart School, Valley Park

Nicole Wibbenmeyer, St. Vincent de Paul School, Perryville

Jennifer Young, St. Gerard Majella School, Kirkwood

Special Education Schools/Centers

Connie Holbrook, Annunziata School, Ladue

Secondary Schools

Beth Lappe, Trinity Catholic High School, St. Louis

Mary Okenfuss, Valle Catholic High School, Ste. Genevieve 

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