Metro Parent Top Teachers Awards 2012
Here they are! Meet five fabulous southeast Michigan educators who truly put the 'excel' in excellence – from band to special needs to science
(page 6 of 6)
Christina Del Pizzo, Second Grade Teacher, St. Michael School, Livonia
Before and after school, Mrs. Del Pizzo, volunteers her time – whether it’s to help students develop a love or science or to meet one-on-one for tutoring in topics that might be difficult.
"She looks at each student as an individual," says Amy Conrad of Christina Del Pizzo, a second-grade teacher at St. Michael School in Livonia. "While I know that's the goal of every teacher, she's just able to do that well, even with 31 students in her class." Conrad knows from experience. When her son began acting up a bit in class, Mrs. Del Pizzo figured out that he just had extra energy and needed more of an academic challenge. "I feel so incredibly lucky that my son, Miles, has an educator who so wholly understands and respects him."
Other parents' letters echoed the same compassion that Mrs. Del Pizzo had toward their children. One father noted that this teacher stayed after school with his daughter to help her improve her reading skills (the tutoring sessions went on for the entire year), and another mother gushed that her second-grader says Mrs. Del Pizzo taught her to "think like an engineer."
"She's a very creative and enthusiastic teacher," explains Sister Carolyn Ratkowski, who is the school principal. When St. Michael's needed a teacher to step in to help run their A World in Motion program, which meets before school and involves teaching students engineering concepts and competitions, Mrs. Del Pizzo eagerly volunteered. "It's without pay," notes Ratkowski. "Just the dedication she has is amazing."
Now in her seventh year of teaching, Del Pizzo relished the chance to teach her second-graders science concepts through activities. One of those activities involved the kids crafting paper helicopters and tissue parachutes to get some hands-on experience learning about seed displacement. "The kids really embraced it, and it evolved into all these other projects," says Del Pizzo.
When asked about how she helps struggling students, Mrs. Del Pizzo had this to say: "'Struggling' is such a broad term. They're each little souls. I'm teaching these little souls, and they're so unique. They just have different views on the world. And if you sit down and listen to them, they have a lot to add to the class. I learn so much from these kids."