Thank you notes to Rhode Island’s teachers

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 24,311 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, after 139 new cases. The most recent test-positive rate was 1.4 percent. The state announced four more deaths, bringing the total to 1,106. There were 94 people in the hospital.

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We’re now two weeks into the most unusual of school years, and teachers find themselves trying to reach students through in-person classes and distance learning (often at the same time). We know it’s not easy, so the least we can do is say thank you.

That’s why I asked Rhode Map readers to share quick stories about educators around the state who have gone above and beyond to deliver for students. And as usual, you guys came through in a big way.

Here’s a look at all of the teachers you asked to be recognized.

Will Graves, Alvarez High School, Providence:

“He loves teaching math so much, when his students create beautiful work, he posts their graphs and formulas on Facebook for everyone to see!”

Carlo Catucci, Scituate High School

“Carlo has worked to keep students first while balancing the demands created by fewer teachers being available due to COVID-19 risk, planning lab work that is practical for remote students and safe for those in-person, and maintaining a positive atmosphere for all involved.”

Mrs. Smith and Ms. Becky, Kingston Hill Academy, Saunderstown

“They helped calm kindergarteners’ first day of school jitters by sending them ‘ready confetti’ and a cute note in the mail before in-person classes began!”

Tara Finlay, Providence Career and Technical Academy, Providence

“Tara took her freshmen on a tour of our building on the first day of school during first period. In her online classes, she still keeps her lovable and fun-loving manner with her kids, which engages them and gets them excited for the next class.”

Elizabeth Butrick, Providence Career and Technical Academy, Providence

“Elizabeth does a million things behind the scenes so students and teachers are ready either online or in person. From helping students who forgot their Google credentials to supporting teachers with a complete how-to file of documents. And her environmental science class is a favorite among students.”

Kimberly Yeaw, Providence Career and Technical Academy, Providence

“Kim worked hard getting our website in order so that the hybrid students and the remote students would know how to log-on to their first class this year. Remote learning would have been a disaster without her.”

Olivia Marshall, Providence Career and Technical Academy, Providence

“Olivia set up a fantastic classroom library this year to encourage reading! Her warm personality is a welcome to all students who enter her room.”

Maribeth Calabro, Nathanael Greene Middle School, Providence

“She kept the focus on the positive work of educators across the district who set up purposeful classrooms with safety measures to ensure students and families felt safe on day one.”

Tara Castro, Wyman Elementary School, Warwick

“She engaged kindergartners their first week in learning how to Zoom with the help of puppets, a read aloud with rhyming, and visual clues for how to mute and unmute.”

Mike McGuigan, Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts, Providence

“He has sparked curiosity in me like I have never seen before. He teaches ethnic studies and is so kind and amazing. He is the best teacher I have ever had!”

Doniell Remington, Sowams School, Barrington

“Many special education kids were affected disproportionally by distance learning and other disruptions to learning routines, and Mrs. Remington has done everything from check-ins over the summer months to late-night email exchanges with parents to sweating the seemingly small details that can easily derail a kid’s day in order to ensure that her students got off to a successful start this year.”

Terri-Lyn Lanctot, The Groden Center School, Providence

“Terri has worked tirelessly, even on weekends and her days off, to paint, organize, and reimagine her classroom for the safety of everyone, while still giving her elementary-aged students a fun learning environment.”

Ms. Ligna Sanchez, William D’Abate Elementary, Providence

“She always goes the extra mile to support the students and families, as well as her colleagues. It looks like her days have more than 24 hours. I don’t know how she does it.”

Patty Ridlon, Sowams School, Barrington

“Her goal every day is to open the world of reading to students who struggle with it.”

Francesca Leclerc, Classical High School, Providence

“Fran puts on her most optimistic and warm self for her students, and is a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is voice of truth in our English department. I know because I can hear her through the hole in the divider between our adjacent rooms!”

José MontañezMarjorie Ramirez, and Zainab Sesay, Blackstone Valley Prep Upper Elementary School, Lincoln

“These educators welcome our students to school every day with incredible warmth and care; they are a strong example of always putting students first!”

St. Pius V School (Everyone), Providence

“Thank you to the entire faculty and staff of St. Pius V School for putting our children’s safety first, while mentally and physically providing them the nourishment they need to learn and grow.”

Patricia Bellini, Blackstone Valley Prep

“With undiminished joy and passion for her profession and a deep reverence for her sacred responsibility to students, even after 39 years, she helps kids overcome their communications difficulties and thrive.”

Esther Acevedo, Central Falls High School

“Not only has Esther done a terrific job tirelessly connecting with her students throughout the summer and the start of this school year to make sure they continue to build their math skills, but she has served as an unofficial mentor to a teacher who is new to CFHS.”

Tracey Belliveau, Woonsocket High School

“Tracey works in a self-contained classroom with young adults with special needs, providing life skills and real-life, job and learning experiences. Tracey is also over 60, putting her in a high-risk category for COVID-19, but she was dedicated to returning to her students even though she had to recreate her whole program because she can’t take them out of the school to engage in their hands-on learning placements. She has remained unwaveringly dedicated to her students, even in these very challenging times and her creativity in delivering a top-notch program to her students has not been stifled.”

Mrs. Clarke, Vartan Gregorian Elementary School, Providence

“She improves the school climate by being cheerful, communicating expertly with kids and parents, and doing a fantastic job with teaching literacy. She is a gem!”

Shannon McCloud, Providence Career and Technical Academy, Providence

“She supported the development of Providence’s new performance-based diploma assessment course and utilized feedback from her students in the process. This year, she has begun to support others in teaching it and found creative ways to use digital learning as an innovation for the work.”

Francesca Salvadore, Classical High School, Providence

“She has found strategies for how to both teach students in the classroom and on Zoom simultaneously while ensuring mathematical discourse is still a focus of the classroom.

Ian Bedard, Central Elementary School, Lincoln

“We’re grateful for his sense of humor and demeanor in making his class comfortable with returning to school.”

Beth Halliwell, Central Elementary School, Lincoln

“We appreciate her attention to detail in providing fifth graders a way to thrive in an uncommon time.”

Tracy Hastings, Central Elementary School, Lincoln

“First graders can be tough. She is making in-person and distancing learning fun.”

Haley Webster, Asa Messer Elementary, Providence

“Since the pandemic started, Haley has truly dedicated her entire livelihood to her students by not only providing the best education she has to offer, but also caring for them as though they’re part of her own family.”

Amanda Voccio, Robert F. Kennedy Elementary, Providence

“Amanda worked tirelessly at the end of the summer, to put together a beautiful, bright room with great flexible options and personal tool kits for her students.”

Holland Landy, West Broadway Middle School, Providence

“Mr. Landy is an incredible communicator and always keeps me in the know as it relates to my son’s school work. He is an incredible teacher, role model, and support for our son in these unprecedented times. We are lucky to have him.”

Jen Robinson, Rogers High School, Newport

“She has helped her students feel empowered to explore, experiment, and collaborate as they go back to school in the classroom or online — and she’s doing both simultaneously!”


⚓ My latest: An organization based in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood is set to launch a free wireless internet network for the entire community – and it could be a game-changer.

⚓ Ed Fitzpatrick reports that for the first time in at least 20 years, most of Rhode Island finds itself in “extreme” drought conditions, which has led to wildfires.

⚓ Several Rhode Island events are highlighted in the Globe’s roundup of what’s happening in the arts world.

⚓ Former Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox, who spent time in federal prison for taking a bribe, has landed a new job at Crossroads R.I. as a housing development manager.

⚓ Rhode Map readers have sent another round of Happy Birthday wishes to: Harry Preston, State Senator Maryellen GoodwinHeidi SeddonBeth CameronDody Gillmor (71), Zachary Oz (56), Cumberland Town Council President E. Craig DwyerMegan Moran (41), Kathylou Columb (59), Peter Skwirz (34), Nancy Meehan (91), Chris MarsellaWesley Morneau (10), Lisa Mooney RussoAlex Cutler (41), Nic Canning (35), Andrew MooreSandy McGeeStephanie MurrayBrett BroesderKayla PanuEmily MartineauWilliam RicciMargie O’BrienJacob Marrocco, Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien, and Peter Asen.


⚓ Politics: Some Republicans are distancing themselves from President Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses to Joe Biden.

⚓ Race: A new survey says support for the Black Lives Matter movement fell from 67 percent in June to 55 percent in September, a drop largely driven by white adults.

⚓ Health: Make sure you read AND listen to this powerful tale of Mark Shanahan’s battle with prostate cancer. Then make sure you share it with others.

⚓ FamilyTy Burr has a lovely story digitizing a conversation on cassette with his mother, 30 years later.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at [email protected].

⚓ Grow Smart R.I. is hosting a virtual version of its annual “Power of Place” summit beginning at 8:30 a.m.

⚓ At 6 p.m., the East Providence City Council is set to consider a proposed zoning change for the company that is purchasing Metacomet Country Club. The sale is expected to happen next month, no matter what the council decides tonight.

⚓ The Guild is opening its beer garden next to the Providence pedestrian bridge today at 3 p.m.

⚓ Do you ❤️ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected], or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you on Monday.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.

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