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Janet Crosswhite Named Heart of the School Award Winner

Janet Crosswhite, St. Luke middle school science teacher, has been named a Heart of the School Award winner by the Archdiocese of Chicago. The award was given under the category of Heart of Innovation, which recognizes ‘Excellent educators who are willing to innovate, infusing their work with the latest teaching practices and instructional technology. Recipients of this award reflect the ability to successfully serve students through adaptation and innovation’.
The Archdiocese awards only 18 Heart of the School Awards each year, recognizing two staff members in each of nine total categories. There were over 500 teachers nominated this year. Mrs. Crosswhite and the other award winners were recognized at a luncheon sponsored by the Archdiocese and received a commemorative engraved heart.
Mrs. Crosswhite has been a part of the St. Luke School community since 2004. Our students and alumni have long benefitted from Janet’s passion and her continual efforts to grow as a teacher. Even though she received the award, we know that our students are the real winners in having her as their teacher.
Here is the nomination letter submitted to the Archdiocese:

Heart of Innovation: Janet Crosswhite

Our middle school science teacher, Janet Crosswhite, is constantly looking for ways to utilize new and different strategies and resources as she strives to perfect her teaching strategies and, ultimately, produce and encourage in her students a greater understanding and appreciation of the sciences.

While guiding her students to pursue excellence in their learning and academic performance, Janet continues to seek effective approaches using recent developments in content-related pedagogy.  Her curricular framework is designed to ensure accurate sequencing for increased student understanding through middle school and into high school.

Janet’s passion for teaching science regularly ignites a similar enthusiasm in her students. Engaging students in meaningful laboratory work and discussions, metaphors and analogies are used to bring content to life.  She has students act out a scientific process to help them visualize what is occurring. They come to lab days well prepared for what is going to happen and eager to participate because they know that, while being guided through the lab, they will also be able to exercise their curiosity.  Janet recently incorporated Vernier Go-Direct Sensor Carts, sensitive computers, into our eighth grade Physics curriculum allowing students to collect and analyze real time data about motion and evaluate their predictions. Her ability to integrate math and technology into the study of science prepares our students for high school courses and sparks their interest.

Fifteen years of experience teaching science and math enable Janet to anticipate areas where students are either likely to encounter difficulty or have their scientific curiosity sparked.  Through her sophisticated and continuous monitoring of student understanding, she is able to make adjustments to her lessons on the spot and assist individual students, or seize on a teachable moment to enhance a lesson.  Janet possesses an extensive repertoire of instructional strategies and continually solicits additional resources from the school, community, and local high schools and colleges. She has created hand drawn booklets explaining major topics which are used as templates for the students to use in the creation of their own materials.  These booklets use words and illustrations to make difficult concepts fun and easy to understand. Students know to keep these items as they are useful, and relevant, in their high school science courses.

Janet Crosswhite, inspired by her love for science and the students she teaches, is constantly evolving as an educator.  St. Luke students and alumni have long benefitted from Janet’s passion and her continual efforts to grow as a teacher. For these reasons we believe she is the Heart of Innovation at St. Luke.

Janet Award