On February 14, 2019 the Ed Fund partnered with the West Contra Costa Unified School District to visit our four Teaching Excellence Winners.
One has been teaching for 30-plus years; another is in their third year of teaching, and the two others are approaching a decade.
Our fantastic Four:
Doug Silva: Helms Middle School, Physical Education
Mr. Silva is in his third year in the District and ninth year teaching overall. He is a big proponent of creating a safe environment for students that translates beyond his class to the schoolwide culture. Mr. Silva loves to tie physical education to other subjects and plans cross curricular activities. His goal is to create positive experiences and help students feel connected to each other and their school community.
“When a student leads part of the lesson, they gain personal pride. When students work together to accomplish a goal, smiles happen.”
Dan O’Shea: Pinole Valley High, Health Sciences
Mr. O’Shea is in his 33rd year with the District and started his career before the world wide web became a thing. Mr. O’Shea said that he has become familiar with new technology over the years and adapted his teaching to fit the times and his students.
“I try to provide a classroom environment that is clean safe and where learning is a priority. I engage students and make them responsible for their own learning experience by providing as many challenging activities and lesson plans.”
Madison Schmalz: Richmond High, ELA 9th Grade
Ms. Schmalz is in her sixth year with the District and ninth year teaching overall. She has taught in a variety of setting before coming to Richmond, including a juvenile detention center, a special day class, and as an Autism Behavior Analyst. Ms. Schmalz’s experience have provided her with a special insight about learning which she applies daily.
“I believe that creating lessons that have content directly related to what students are experiencing and seeing in their daily lives is the best way to help them learn academic skills including analysis, critical thinking, and reading. More, importantly, it helps them understand what is going on in the world around them and allows them to see how they can engage in a positive, constructive manner.”
Fernanda Gonzalez-Hausske: Nystrom Elementary Grade, Kindergarten
Ms. Gonzalez-Hausske is in her second year in the District and has been teaching for three years total. She loves data and her student’s intrinsic motivation to learn. When asked about her teaching beliefs and why she does it, she responded on her nomination application with the following:
“Children in my class look at their own tracking sheet and say, ‘Teacher, ask me this one. I know this one,’ which builds both their sense of pride, but also their metacognitive skills. They have come to understand and internalize what it means to know something. And that is a beautiful thing.