Cara was recently nominated by her principle for the Jordan Educator Foundation's Outstanding Educator Award. She didn't win but just being one of the nominees is an honor in my opinion. I don't think she would want me to post this up here, she so modest, but I thought it might be interesting to share with all of you.
1. Qualities. Describe the qualities that set educator apart from other educators.I think I should also mention that Missy Ames, a friend and coworker of Cara's also helped write the grant for fine art work that is mentioned in the nomination form.
Cara Bailey has a sense of calm around her that emanates towards her students. Anyone spending time around her would easily deduce that she is an artist because of the beautiful effects she has on her environment. Not only does she create works of art, but she helps her students identify talents they have and magnify them. Her classes are intriguing and her student's produce fascinating projects. Cara also takes time to design her classes to be fully inclusive environments for special education students. This is particularly important because so many students with disabilities are visual, spatial learners.
2. Explain what this individual does to support and enhance student learning outside the classroom.
Cara decided that the students at West Jordan Middle School were not being exposed to enough examples of fine art work as they moved from one classroom to another throughout the day. She desired to demonstrate the ability of incorporating works of beauty into a variety of settings. Cara approached the fine arts department and together they wrote a grant to purchase enough prints to place masterpieces in each room at West Jordan Middle School. The students do not have to take a field trip to an art museum to see fine art. They are now surrounded by it.
3. Explain what this individual does to support and enhance student learning outside the classroom.
A sense of community pervades Cara's classroom. The students know that she is willing to respect their individual differences and work with them to help all students learn in her room. Students feel good about themselves because she has cultivated an accepting, caring learning environment. Allen Martin said, "Let no child ever doubt himself or his mind because we are unsure of our commitment." That does not happen in Cara Bailey's classroom. Cara is committed to making each task in her classroom valuable and relevant. It is no wonder then that her students feel that way also.
4. List the curriculum projects this nominee developed or implemented that have made a difference in the lives of students.
A recent curriculum project that Cara designed focused on the students being able to
wrap their minds around the "colors" of words. She had them choose lyrics from a song and illustrate them. It sounds simple, but when you consider that many middle school students use music for defining themselves, it becomes so much more. Some of the students produced media that was close to autobiographical. This is just one of many captivating projects that Cara has designed or implemented in her room. Many coworkers have stated that they would love to be students in her room.