Orange Elementary Principal, Teri Trask shares her insight on the importance of Gold Star as the premier teacher recognition program in Black Hawk county– if not, in all of IOWA!
“We are so fortunate to have a program like the Gold Star in our area to publicly honor educators for the difference they make in lives daily! I have been a part of the Gold Star program for several years in a variety of ways.
I was a Gold Star teacher, served on the Gold Star selection committee the following year, was a supportive spouse of a Gold Star teacher, nominated friends for the Gold Star award and since becoming a principal have encouraged staff to complete the process if they are nominated. If staff are hesitant, I always remind them that this, like many other things in education, is not about them, but about the students. When a student nominates THEIR teacher, it is like sending a letter off to Santa … they anxiously wait for the big day and are wide eyed and hopeful that everyone will soon know what they know, that THEIR teacher is indeed a GOLD STAR teacher! As educators, we know it does not mean we are one of the 10 best, it means we GET to represent everything positive about our profession and the people who serve in our roles like ours.
I have seen everyone from new teachers to veterans cross the stage to receive the Gold Star certificate and I can honestly say that the person who starts on one side is not the same person who exits on the other side. They exit with confirmation that they have fulfilled their mission in life – to make the difference in the life of a child! This is reward enough so it makes the $1,000 check icing on the cake! What is also interesting to note is that most of the teachers I know have not spent the money on themselves, but instead have reinvested it in their classrooms and students!
Celebrations are not the norm in education and teachers never give themselves enough credit so it is refreshing to see a program like Gold Star cover both of these bases! I think Gold Star is an excellent testament to the McElroy legacy and hope to see it continue for years to come! ”