Year Honored: 2008Knollwood Heights Elementary School
Rapid City, SD
At the time of the Award, Cary Roller was:Teacher
Knollwood Heights Elementary School
Rapid City, SD
At Knollwood Heights Elementary School, a Title I building in Rapid City, South Dakota, first-grade teacher Cary Roller has nurtured high student achievement in an innovative, child-centered classroom environment. Guiding her students as a community of learners eager to cooperate and contribute, Roller challenges them in areas such as vocabulary, teaching them difficult words such as "schema" and "horticulturist." She also provides a wide range of reading and writing opportunities, leading students' participation in shared reading, guided reading and independent reading, as well as Writer's Workshop, journal writing and interactive or shared writing. Roller led a successful effort in writing a "Got Books!" proposal through DonorsChoose.org for $500 to buy books for her classroom library. Students have scored high on standardized tests, including those in the Reading Recovery program. A member of the Building Leadership Team since 2002, Roller collaborates with colleagues to examine the school's test results and provide staff development to address areas of need. She is leader of the first-grade team, through which she impacts the effectiveness of other first-grade teachers. Roller has also mentored several new and student teachers. She led a demonstration classroom for several years, serving as a model of effective literacy instruction for local and regional educators to observe. She has also helped recognize student excellence as a member of the Knollwood Mighty Knights Committee.