Miss Whitney Ward is a teacher who shows the highest teaching standards, as manifested by her exemplary instruction, leadership in student development, and engagement of parents and community. Miss ward teaches 4th grade at South Jordan Elementary school in South Jordan. My son is among her students and I have had first-hand account of her exemplary instruction. It is a classroom with hands-on learning and exploration. They are encouraged to be curious and discover their learning. She has a class heavily weighted with “energetic” 9 year old boys. As you can imagine, it is no easy task to help educate them. But she not only educates them, she cares for them and they adore and respect her. Miss Ward is also the school’s student council mentor. She helps to develop these leaders of the student body through responsibility and compassion. As I overheard one of the student council meetings she was leading, I was struck by her earnest focus to lead the students to contributing ideas and solutions instead of providing it for them. She is teaching them to be proactive. To be thinkers. To be contributors. Miss Ward is proactive herself in engaging parents and community. I love that she utilizes technology in keeping parents involved in their students learning and learning environment. Also, she is a living, breathing example to the students of building the community. One of the main goals of student council is to help the students give back to the community and learn civic responsibility. One simple exercise she gives the kids is taking care of each classroom’s recycling. Simple enough, but it is teaching the kids to take responsibility for their community; their school. As one of two student council mentors, she and her co-worker, Mrs. Todd have organized school fundraisers for Cancer research and food banks. Showing the students that there is a responsibility to community far beyond the school walls. There is a world they will be responsible for one day. We are lucky at South Jordan Elementary to have such an exemplary teacher who enriches our children’s lives through her excellent instruction, devotion to student development, and commendable engagement of parents and community.
–Heather Van Leeuwen