A Macomb County educator known for providing individualized instruction for each of her students and her commitment to instilling a lifelong love of learning has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Michelle Rossi, is a kindergarten teacher at Ardmore Elementary, in St. Clair Shores. It is part of the Lakeview Public School District.
The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.
Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, FOX 47 in Lansing, and WNEM-TV in Saginaw. The segment featuring Rossi will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Rossi she chose a career in education because “it seemed like fun. I wanted to work with kids and many members of my family are teachers. Teaching also seemed like a job that would be conducive to having a family.”
She said her favorite part of being an educator is “the magic about learning. The kids get so excited to learn. Seeing the growth that my students make physically, educationally and socially in the school year is astounding. Another aspect is that each year is another ‘go’ at your job. Each year you get an opportunity to improve yourself professionally and change things and try again. Each year is a new set of challenges and successes.”
Rossi said her students motivate her to do her best every day. “The light in the eyes of my students and their excitement when they make a connection or learn something new is what makes it worth it. My students tell me every day that they love me and how smart they think I am. Knowing that your actions and decisions and your lessons impact little humans is an overwhelming responsibility and one that is such an honor. Knowing that the foundation I lay in kindergarten will help carry them through life is awesome!”
The nomination for the Excellence in Education award described Rossi as “the perfect teacher” to help children adapt to school.
“Her gentle yet firm, fair, poised and highly articulate, and approachable personality allows her students to feel important, comfortable and welcomed in their new environment. She greets her students every day with a smile and uplifting greeting, so her students start their day out on a positive note and have a sense of belonging in the classroom,” the nomination said.
“Throughout the day, Mrs. Rossi maintains a positive atmosphere that is conducive for learning by setting the tone for her students with a clear vision and objectives, while teaching a variety of subjects and life skills. Here she builds a foundation for lifelong learning by adjusting her teaching methods to reach students of all backgrounds and abilities,” it said.
“She has a particular way she builds up her students who are struggling, yet challenges her brightest students, instilling the mindset for ALL students to strive for excellence. Her inner creativity shines as she remains current with the latest teaching strategies and trends, but still makes learning fun by using a variety of approaches, such as cooperative learning, hands-on, one-on-one and play method to teach.”
Rossi also communicates regularly with the parents of her students, using “take home letters, email, Facebook, texting and apps to relay information to parents, promoting community events and to make herself available late hours in the night and early morning for discussion,” the nomination said.
“Mrs. Rossi also leads the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program, a school-wide initiative focusing on building a strong community within Ardmore Elementary and establishing common expectations for student behavior that are clearly and explicitly taught and recognized in various ways, such as the student of the month.”
Rossi earned a bachelor of science degree in child development from Michigan State University and a master of arts degree in teaching reading and language arts from Oakland University. She has been an educator for 15 years, all with the Lakeview Public Schools.
Outstanding public school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.
Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
- Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
- Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
- Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts.
- Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.