I am thrilled at the opportunity to nominate Jennifer Graviet for Weber School District’s Teacher of the Year. It is an honor to talk about the many reasons why she is deserving of this award. Ms. Graviet has something that the great teachers possess… the ability to make every student feel good about themselves. She is an amazing teacher of literature and writing but before this, she creates an incredible learning environment in her Sand Ridge classroom where students feel safe and respected. She individualizes these experiences and makes them personal for every student. An example of this is that on each student’s birthday, she plays the student’s favorite song for the entire class while they are working on their warm-up. Her bell work is always fun, bright, and starts the class off with something that makes students inquire, leading the class into meaningful discussion. Ms. Graviet is able to work with other classes and departments through cross collaborative teams and is the consummate team player. I have seen her students create incredible works of art, invite guest speakers from various walks of life, and implement school-wide initiative that are centered in best practice and are data-driven.
I have had the honor of working with Ms. Graviet and serving as her principal this year here at Sand Ridge Jr. High School. Jennifer’s passion for public schools is well known among her peers and in the community. Parents and students request her class often and always feel that she is a student-advocate. She is in her 17th year as a teacher of Language Arts and during those years, Ms. Graviet has developed her craft through study and careful implementation of best practice and through collaboration. An example of her ability to identify issues and to address them through best practice is when she saw that our Language Arts students were consistently low in the area of Informational Text. She implemented a school-wide program where each Monday, teachers teach a lesson using Informational Text as the format for the lesson on comprehension. She is not negative and is always looking for what is best for kids. She is able to dialogue constructively and consider other points of view as she brings the faculty closer because of the deep respect her peers have for her.
Ms. Graviet’s class is bright, positive, and a haven for students. Kids are constantly coming in to share things with her because of the level of trust she has earned with her students. She supports school activities and gets to know the students and their interests because she genuinely cares about them. Ms. Graviet helps students formulate powerful arguments through literature and her ability to help students relate to the characters in those stories. She is a master at teaching writing and her test scores reflect this. This is not all that matters to Ms. Graviet as it is the relationships that truly matter. When one asks a student who their favorite teacher is at Sand Ridge, if the student has or has had her as an instructor, it almost always includes the name of Graviet. Each class, for Ms. Graviet, is a masterpiece. The lessons are well-planned with targeted outcomes that make Sand Ridge and Weber School District a better place because she teaches here. Her peers see her as a mentor and she is uniquely able to fill that role and still see herself as needing to grow as a teacher. She pays attention to detail and follows through, able to connect with students from unique backgrounds because of her own moral character. Another example is the powerful lessons she creates each week for our character education initiative. She has teamed with three other teachers to create potent messages that impact the moral fiber of the student and our school.
Ms. Graviet’s work ethic is tireless and she is persistent in her ability to look for the best thing for kids. She will be our Language Arts department head next year, currently serves as the head of our School Improvement Team, and will lead us into Accreditation next year. She has been the lead for the past year in our current 1st place standing in the Newgate Mall’s program, My School’s Cool. Ms. Graviet has been determined to get this cash award for Sand Ridge because she wants to help the school any way she can. Her attitude is contagious and she is such a welcome collaborative team member when discussing how to help struggling students because of how she approaches teaching each day.
Ms. Graviet truly embraces the opportunity to help kids. She values the building of character that happens through the curricular and the extra-curricular alike, taking time to talk about the education of the whole child as part of her role as educator. I wholeheartedly recommend Ms. Graviet for Weber School District Teacher of the Year and am confident that she is the kind of teacher that makes students want to be better and do better because of the trust she builds and the expectations she has for her students.