Eye on the big picture

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Curriculums and academic goalposts at times seem to change with the wind, but Gubser Elementary School teacher Melissa Frank keeps her sights set on a bigger picture. “The biggest thing is just instilling confidence in working at a task. If you can instill that confidence and sense of pride, students strive harder, they work harder and they’re more successful,” said Frank, who is in her ninth year as a Gator teacher. Frank was one of a dozen teachers and educators honored for their work with a Salem-Keizer Education Foundation Crystal Apple at a ceremony Thursday, Nov. 13. Frank was the only nominee from a Keizer school to walk away with the “Academy Award” of Salem-Keizer School District education. In her tenure as a fourth grade teacher – she now teaches a fourth/fifth blended class – students have arrived in Frank’s classroom from all walks of life and every possible mix of preparation. “There are students that excel, those that struggle and those lacking the intrinsic motivation to work at school, but I love catching a struggling reader and working some magic to get them where they need to be,” Frank said. The magic she talks about isn’t so much a trick as it is focused hard work. One year, a student arrived in her class who had fallen nearly three years behind...

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