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Mrs. Laura Reina – William Penn Elementary

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to you about a wonderful and devoted teacher, Laura Reina of William Penn Elementary.

Mrs. Reina has been making a difference with kids before she was even finished with her own education. She began working with students at Millcreek Elementary while she was attending the University of Utah. She did a variety of tasks working with kids with special needs and helping the teachers but most importantly she started a tradition that over the years has given many children a special chance to be a “star,” to learn new things and gain an appreciation for the performing arts, a school play.

The first year she wrote a script for Jack in the Beanstalk, creating parts for as many children as possible and presented it on the small cafeteria stage at the school. Each year since, Mrs. Reina has done a musical play with the students of her school. Over the years the plays have grown in scope and size, many involving several hundred of the students as cast and chorus. Mrs. Reina searches for plays with large casts so she can get as many kids involved as possible and she usually finds ways of getting even more kids onstage by having them participate in dances and as living set pieces. She works long hours after school and on weekends preparing scripts, auditioning kids and then rehearsing with them for months before the big show. Mrs. Reina’s weekends are spent searching thrift stores, sewing and creating costumes and scenery. Mrs. Reina devotes many hours to help the kids create something magical. For many of the kids it will be an experience of a lifetime and for many the experience will be the spark that ignites a life-long love of the theater and performing arts.

Beyond all this, Mrs. Reina does her “regular job” of being a devoted and passionate teacher in the classroom. She works hard to bring creative and interesting ways of learning into her classroom. Here are some of the things that her students and their parents have said about her:

I really like how Mrs. Reina asks the students ‘is this your personal best?” This is encouraging to a child to give the best they have without comparing them to others. Mrs. Reina strives to help all students do the “personal best.” – Leissa Roberts (parent)

Laura is the most devoted teacher I have met. She donates many hours and money to the plays that she puts on yearly, as well as her class. – Alyssa Pope (colleague)

Mrs. Reina has been a fabulous teacher. Even though she gives out a lot more homework than the other 5th grade teachers, the students don’t seem to mind. My son, Carlyn, has enjoyed the challenges that she has given to him by way of meaningful homework, and also by making him accountable for getting assignments in on time, and basically taking on more personal responsibility. He has learned a lot and has had fun doing it. I saw her teaching the students about the different types of movements of the earth…each student has a mini Snickers Bar that they manipulated to learn what happens with different types of movements. Mrs. Reina has definitely been a favorite teacher with Carlyn! – Deborah Warren (parent)

Laura Reina never stops working for the fifth grade students at William Penn Elementary. She moves quickly and efficiently taking time with anyone who needs it. She works to create high interest lessons every single day and she cares so much about each student learning all that’s in the curriculum. She is multi-talented as a dancer and actor and this year she has done things like a colonial fair, a school play (where she involves any kids from the whole school who want to be involved), newsletters written by members of her class, creative integrative projects and so much more. She uses technology in her room all
the time and even has the students blogging on her website. She knows each student so well and is able to capitalize on each child’s strengths. She puts in countless hours before and after school and is constantly thinking of the children in her class. Mrs. Reina is such a team player at our school and gives everything her all. We owe so much more to her than we could ever give. – Laura Romney (parent)

Mrs. Reina has been great with Emma. She is fun, funny, engaging, interesting, and holds the kids accountable for their work and behavior. I liked the Friday activities that were available if your work was done. I appreciated her calm and reassuring attitude when Emma was stressed about things. Mrs. Reina helped her see that she was capable of her best work without working her to death. Those were the things that Emma needed to learn and Ms. Reina was willing to meet with us before school, stay late after school and always be available via email to help us. That is the kind of individual care she gives to her students. I was impressed with the class newsletter that was created by the kids. What a great way to integrate reading, writing, computer skills, group responsibility, creativity… I also liked the class web page and her constant encouragement to use technology to help us learn and organize information. Another great teacher! – Marcy Matheson (parent)

Thank you for considering this wonderful candidate for your Teacher Feature Award!