OCEAN CITY, NJ (May 8, 2020) - Congratulations to Christie – 2020 Ocean City Intermediate School Teacher of the Year!
It is the end of Teacher Appreciation Week and we wanted to thank everyone that participated in celebrating our Ocean City teachers! We also want to give an extra special shoutout to our Teacher of the Year, Christie Pontari!
Christie Pontari, Spanish Teacher, shares the importance of culture, connection and community with her students. By showing students that Spanish is more than a language, Christie teaches them a way of life, an understanding of cultural differences and similarities, strengths of other cultures, and how to connect to and with the world. It’s challenging to teach a world language to 4th through 8th grade students. However, Christie’s ability to meet the diverse language and learning needs of her students enables them to converse in Spanish with each other and with their families. Because Christie capitalizes on a personalized learning approach for each of her students, her students learn to speak and write proficiently in Spanish, all the while having fun in class. Christie’ students know that her classroom is a safe place to take risks. Christie has also helped to increase the collaboration between Spanish and core content area teachers and connections with these subject areas.
Christie continues to find ways to improve communication between home and school for our Spanish-speaking families. From translating materials, advocating for Spanish-speaking families, contacting them, hosting Hispanic Parent Information sessions at Back-to-School-Nights, Christie demonstrates every day the absolute importance of connecting with all of our families and students. She has also been a key player in arranging for community organizations like the OCPD and OCFPL to be a part of BTSN so that they can provide families with information for sports, city-provided amenities at the public library, and free classes for parents to learn English. She also helped to arrange transportation to and from the school for the families for this event. As a result of her efforts, there has been an increase in Spanish-speaking parents attending conferences.
Making connections with her colleagues is another one of Christie’s strength as she always looking for ways to get staff involved in extracurricular and team building activities, including the Lip Sync/Talent Show, Yoga Club and coaching various sports. All of this is done with the intentions of making her school a better place, which Christie did by helping us find space for the Wellness Room.
Students, teachers, parents and families report enjoying the encouragement and respect they receive from Christie. Her helpful attitude and treatment of others has earned her the respect of administration, colleagues, students, and parents. Christie’s dedication to give back to the community is outstanding.