Year Honored: 2010Maywood Elementary School
At the time of the Award, Tamara Medel was:Teacher
Maywood Elementary School
Subject(s) taught: General Elementary
Tamara Garfio conducts her third-grade class at Maywood Elementary School much like a college seminar, asking students to drive the conversation with sophisticated questions. She models the thinking process and uses strategies to teach students to become independent problem-solvers. Establishing the expectation that students must challenge themselves and others by providing evidence to support their thinking, she requires her students to read and discuss their work in class. By making students accountable for their own progress, they develop life-long learning strategies. With this rigorous preparation, it’s no surprise that this year 90 percent of students scored advanced or proficient in the Language Arts on the California Standardized Tests (CSTs). In district-level math assessments her students also performed at stellar levels scoring 85 percent or higher. Year after year her students perform at top levels.
Garfio offers training classes for parents, such as her “Parent as Educators Workshop,” in which she introduces parents to grade-level standards so that they can understand what students need to know by the end of the year. To increase literacy schoolwide, she organized and coordinates an accelerated reader program for students in grades 2-5. Garfio holds individual conferences with students about the books they are reading, including a personal consultation about their book selection, reading tips and a self-assessment to evaluate their comprehension. Colleagues and administrators are frequent visitors in her classroom as they are eager to observe an exceptional learning environment where students are skillfully guided to achieve mastery of grade-level standards.