Math Specialist & GT Coordinator
Meet Ms. Amanda!
You may have seen her outside at the various crosswalk duties; you may have seen her bright smile and busy walk in the hallway as she moves from class to class, but what you probably don’t see is the number of hours and dedication she puts in behind the scenes for our students.
Amanda grew up in the small town, Strasburg, Colorado. As with many small-town girls, a love of animals was manifested. She had dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and geese. She even won a competition with a chicken she taught to jump on command! It may surprise you to know that she and Ms. Elisha even went to high school together.
After high school, she attended Colorado State University. Growing up in a small town, she was ready to spread her wings and was excited to be off to bigger things. Her mother was a math teacher and had a deep love for teaching and her father was an engineer. Amanda decided to go her own direction, though, and majored in Human Development and Family Studies. At that time in her life, she was not willing to admit her true love of math and wanted to make sure she was on her own path, even though deep down she was a self-deemed “nerd” and loved it. It was during her time at CSU that she met her husband Zach in a flag football Superbowl game!
Amanda furthered her education by attending the University of Colorado at Denver where she received a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on math. She discovered her true calling and gift in teaching children to solve problems and to reason mathematically. She enjoys teaching but has a special place in her heart for math.
After receiving her teaching license, she was hired to teach first grade in Strasburg. 10 years in Strasburg and two sweet kids, Hazel and Sawyer, later, it was time to start new adventures. They headed out to Castle Rock where Amanda started working for Renaissance Elementary.
Currently, Amanda is in her 7th year at the school. She has taught 2nd grade, 3rd grade and currently serves as our Math Specialist! When asked why she chooses Renaissance as a teacher in the district, she said, “I believe it is the best school in the district. It’s why my kids go here. It is really important for me to have my family together and in the same school. Zach works at the Renaissance Secondary School and that provides our family with the opportunity to ride to school together, attend the kids’ important school events, and to have the community support the school provides. Having close relationships with the staff, students, and families is a key piece in making Renaissance my home. The Expeditionary Learning, the adventure education and the teachers here make it a place I want my family to be.” Her mission is to erase the “I am not a math person” thoughts and show all students that they can be successful in math and even learn to like it!
She brings a fun, light and exuberant style of learning to the classroom and the students, which in turn, creates an engaging learning environment. During the day she teaches all grade levels of math, pulling groups and being their primary teacher. This allows smaller, more targeted group learning within the classroom. She is able to coach teachers and work through strategies of teaching different abilities in math and fine tuning the mathematical learning experience of each child.
Amanda also facilitates the Gifted and Talented program for our school. She collects data, completes evaluations, does the testing, creates advanced learning plans (ALP’s) and stays current on the state and district standards for math. This means a lot of hours outside of her math specialist role.
Ms. Deborah had some information to share on Amanda’s role as well: “Amanda works with teachers, side-by-side, doing several things. She supports teachers in looking at the state standards and setting priorities around the essential math understandings and skills that require mastery at every grade. Amanda has the big picture of the learning continuum for kids at a school-wide level which supports the vertical articulation of our math framework. Another essential part of her role is coaching teachers. Amanda models, gives feedback and supports the growth of teacher development in the area of mathematics. District does not allocate funded support for math interventionists. This is a site-based budget decision. With site-based school dollars and the collaboration of our school fundraisers we can have Ms. Amanda in the school. The is a position unique to Renaissance that you will not find in other schools.”
Amanda and Elisha have multiple roles and are crucial to the success of our students. They are interventionists first and foremost, putting serving kids face-to-face, as their number one priority. Their roles are layered with paperwork and mandates from the state, which in other schools, becomes the primary allocation of their time. It looks different at Renaissance. They put serving kids first. Their positive attitudes and expertise in their fields complete a well-rounded education.
Please participate generously in our fundraising efforts so that we can keep both these worthy woman in our school. When you see them in the hallways, please express your appreciation for all they do for our REMS students!