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Karen Leinweber – Barratt Elementary

Mrs. Karen Leinweber is kind, patient and understanding. She has taught at Barratt Elementary at the 6th grade Advance Learning Teacher for over 15 years. Mrs. Leinweber not only teaches standard curriculum she teaches many life lessons as well. Her class motto is centered on FROGS, this motto is repeated every day as a class and the values are talked about and enforced in Mrs. Leinweber’s Class. Frogs are (F)riendly and Kind, (R)espectful, h(O)nest, Give their best effort, and (S)how Integrity! This Motto is a class favorite and Mrs. Leinweber has collected many frogs over the years. My children certainly remember these characteristics and remind me of them each time they see a Frog. Mrs. Leinweber has taught three of my children and they are all better students and prepared for Junior High at a level higher than many of their peers. My children came out of Mrs. Leinweber’s class with a love a learning and the ability to accomplish challenging tasks. Students are challenged to not just read books, but also question and discuss their meanings. My children now read and discuss many of the topics they read about with me and other peers. Students are expected to do their best work and always turn it in. Mrs. Leinweber was kind and persuasive and got the students in the habit of doing their homework every night and working hard. My oldest student has extreme Anxiety issues and Mrs. Leinweber tailored homework assignments so that they were based her understanding level. This meant that instead of having to spend 3-4 hours on homework we could work with my daughter to her level of understanding and cut back the level of pressure and anxiety so that homework was enjoyable. (The average student could complete the same homework in ½ – 1 hour). Mrs. Leinweber helped my daughter gain a level of success and ownership that has carried with her to high school. My middle son also excelled because he was pushed to a higher level and encouraged to take chances and read a little more and do a little more than had been expected in previous classes. My last child likes to try and get away with doing the minimum and Mrs. Leinweber challenged her and gently prodded her to think out-side the box and work to her potential. My children are all different level of learner and Mrs. Leinweber was able to uniquely help and challenge each of them to be their best and be responsible for their own learning.

In addition the Science Fair, and Renaissance Fair, Dance Festival, Book Clubs etc. Mrs. Leinweber’s classes each year have performed a Shakespeare play, Knitted Scarves for the Homeless shelter and taken part in Egyptian Day. Each year the Shakespeare play was done 100% by the students, from directing to lights and sound to performing. The students learned to work together and an amazing show is preformed along with a Punch and Judy puppet show for the other students in the school and of course the parents. During the Christmas season all the students are taught to knit – an amazing feet in and of itself. But the scarves that are knit are then given to a local charity. This is very challenging time of year for Mrs. Leinweber as she has to “fix” many holes and mistakes before the scarves can be completed by the students. Mrs. Leinweber has always taken this challenge on with a smile and helps each child that comes up to her and says…”Mrs. Leinweber, I think I messed up.” My youngest daughter still talks about how Mrs. Leinweber was so patient with her, because “She was terrible at knitting.” This applies to their school work as well. Egyptian day has long been her tradition on Halloween. Each student in the class dressed up as an Egyptian character on Halloween and has a traditional Egyptian feast of Fig, Pomegranate, meat, unleavened bread, grapes, grape juice and honey. The students make mummies, Egyptian masks and participate in Egyptian activities; this day is the culmination of their Egyptian unit. These are memories that my children have discussed and remembered many times over the years. These are memories they will never forget. Any student that has had Mrs. Leinweber over the years has been changed for the better.

I managed to sneak just two of the hundreds of Thank You cards that Mrs. Leinweber has receive over the years. This first one is from the Karlinsey Family. Dear Mrs. Leinweber; We so appreciate your time, patience, understanding and efforts to teach [our son] this year. He has grown a lot this year. Thank your for your contributions to that growth. I am so glad (and maybe his is secretly glad, too) that he learned to knit a scarf, that he participated in Science Fair, and that he was permitted to share complex math principles from his little book, that he learned a dance for the dance festival, and participated in the production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The next is a letter from Carrie Perruca: Mrs. Leinweber, Well you are at the end of the Perucca Bunch. Five of my six kids have been in your class – they have each signed this saying thanks for your big heart in shaping my children’s minds. So far my kids have done pretty well. You have done such a good job in preparing the kids for Junior High. You are a wonderful person and a Fabulous teacher.

–Amy Harris