Three months ago, we met with Jessica George at Phenix Elementary School and Early Childhood Center in Valley Junction when she was wrapping up her eighth year of teaching there and 15th overall as an educator. She talked about the progress that her 15 second grade students made during the school year and her passion for teaching at Phenix.
At the top of her list was the students’ progress in mathematics.
“We continue to work on addition and subtraction facts and start working on multiplication. We want them to know the basic facts before they leave for third grade,” she says.
Then she spoke about reading and writing.
“Comprehension is the big thing. We want them to understand what they read, as well as spelling, phonics and how to sound out letters. We do a lot of small groups for reading,” she says.
Finally, her students also learned about Japan during a social studies unit.
“They really enjoyed learning about another culture,” she says. “We met a lot of goals this year.”
They also had fun along the way. George’s enthusiasm for her students, her work and her school is evident.
“I love Phenix. We are a family,” she says. “It’s the smallest elementary school in the district so we are very close.
“I especially love the kids. They challenge me every day and they’re a very hands-on group. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I couldn’t be at a job where I sit behind a desk.”
That mindset also serves George well in her capacity as a wellness coordinator for Phenix.
“I have a passion for teaching and being healthy,” she says. “Phenix is the healthiest school in Iowa. I’m very proud of that. We do a lot of extra physical activities that a lot of schools don’t do. It’s one of the reasons why I love Phenix.”