principal Maureen Mulvey told parents at last Tuesday’s that often times the best gift you can give a teacher at the end of the year is a note from a parent or student telling them how much you or the student appreciated what the teacher did throughout the course of the school year.
One parent did just that—but she didn’t write her letter to the teacher; she instead sent it to the National Association for Special Education Teachers nominating this teacher for an award.
As a result, the South School’s Kristen DeMayo received the Outstanding Special Education Teacher Award from the organization.
DeMayo, who has taught at the South School for the last five years, and in Boston for five years before that, was recognized for her achievement at the Flag Day Ceremony.
“I was shocked and so honored,” she said in her classroom following the ceremony. “It was a complete surprise; I had no idea.”
The parent who wrote the letter wished to remain anonymous, but in her letter to the organization wrote that DeMayo “represents the epitome of a devoted educator of Special Education.”
This parent’s daughter, now a student at the , was transferred from another school in the district halfway through her fourth grade year to DeMayo’s language-based classroom at the South, and remained there for fifth grade as well.
“Our daughter came to [DeMayo’s] classroom with a language processing disability, reading below grade level, not knowing how to ask questions to things she didn’t know, and lacking confidence in her abilities. As parents with a heavy heart, we experienced the fear of the unknown and were about to embark on uncharted waters,” this parent wrote in her nomination letter.
“We met Ms. DeMayo just prior to the transfer. It was during that meeting she quickly made us see that our daughter, with the exception that she learns differently from her peers, was in fact no different than any other child.
“It was apparent in Ms. DeMayo’s calm demeanor, clear and concise method to teaching special needs, and the wonderful inviting appearance of her classroom that left us with a warm welcoming feeling that our daughter would be just fine!”
This parent credits DeMayo with implementing a series of strategies and skills in math, reading and writing that have helped her daughter achieve success in the classroom—and beyond.
“Ms. DeMayo brought about remarkable change in such a short time in both our daughter’s education as well as the ability to instill the self-confidence she desperately needed—a confidence she possess for herself today, both educationally as well as socially,” this parent wrote in the letter.
“Ms. DeMayo was instrumental in shaping the student our daughter is today.”
DeMayo’s language-based classroom has shifted to more of an inclusion classroom for fourth and fifth graders. She also will co-teach lessons in general education classrooms.
“It’s amazing to be recognized for something you just love doing,” DeMayo said.