TEACHER FEATURE

Rachel Rolf, Hillside Middle School

Jan 2, 2019, 10:10 AM | Updated: Feb 25, 2019, 3:29 pm
...

The following was submitted by Joleigh Honey.

“Rachel Rolf is an outstanding teacher whose passion for mathematics and student learning is evident from the moment you walk into her classroom. She sets high expectations for each of her students, as she knows that they are all capable of achieving at high levels. Students talk about problems, share ideas and make sense of mathematics, as opposed to memorizing a procedure that is meaningless to them. In her class, students see themselves as mathematicians. She knows and understands that with the right support, every student can be successful and that it is important for students to also see themselves as capable. This is even more significant when you consider that her class is a diverse group that consists of both general education and special education students.

Creating an atmosphere where every student has knowledge and something to share in a diverse class requires intentional moves by the teacher. Rachel has a co-teacher who partners with her and, together, they “set the stage” every day using real-world situations. Rachel’s co-teacher is the special education teacher, but the students do not know that they have different roles. Together, they encourage students to take the time to reason through problems, generate ideas and use representations to make sense of the mathematics. They have built structures so that students communicate their reasoning and problem-solving strategies with one another. Over time, the students build confidence in their math abilities, and that helps each one of them recognize themselves as mathematicians.

Rachel’s reputation for excellence and her impact on student achievement extends beyond her classroom. She is a Utah finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, as well as a state facilitator and trainer for the Co-teaching Cohort. In her role as a trainer for co-teachers, she has assisted teachers across the state with increasing the achievement of students with disabilities in their own classrooms. Through modeling, Rachel exemplifies quality teaching practices that emphasize ways to deepen understanding of content.

Rachel’s students with disabilities have – on their own – come up with many creative problem-solving methods in her classroom. She makes sure they have a safe space that allows them to “think, wonder, and question,” and says she has found success with this method because her students are able to say, “Oh, this is how I did it!” and, “I thought about it like this.” No one in Rachel’s class is allowed to think they’re “bad at math,” and she works closely with her special education counterpart to guarantee that all students have the same opportunities.

Not only does Rachel make learning fun – she genuinely believes in each and every one of her students. She listens, validates their reasoning, and gives them the support and room to master their own big ideas. Rachel has all of the confidence in the world that her students can succeed, which she demonstrates through her positive attitude and high expectations. Rachel has a special bond with her students, and refuses to give up on any student that struggles. She finds so much joy in teaching and helping them understand that they can be confident problem-solvers. Mrs. Rolf is beloved by all of her students, and is a perfect example of the kinds of educators we need – and should celebrate – in Utah.”

Today’s Top Stories

Teacher Feature

...
Emily Ashmead

Teacher Feature is back in session

After what felt like an extended summer vacation, KSL's Teacher Feature program is back in session. This year's Teacher Feature primary sponsor is Burt Brothers Tire & Service. The company has been involved with Teacher Feature for more than ten years, and says they are appreciative of a way to give back. 
1 year ago
...
Emily Ashmead

Mark Landeen, South Jordan Middle School

The following was submitted by JR Landeen. “I know it may seem weird that I am nominating my own father but I truly believe he is deserving of this award. I was never his student in the classroom or even attended his school but I know what kind of teacher he is. I remember growing […]
3 years ago
...
Emily Ashmead

Janie Lauritzen, Welby Elementary

The following was submitted by Jon P. Lauritzen. “Janie Lauritzen has taught kindergarten at South Jordan’s Welby Elementary for 19 years. She’s that special teacher that has parents jockeying with the school administration to make sure their children get into her classes. Over the years, she has taught children with learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, and […]
3 years ago
...
Emily Ashmead

Jen Lightfoot, Viewmont Elementary

The following was submitted by Emily Chandler. “This year my child was diagnosed with Rheumatic fever in early September. Rheumatic fever is a rare disorder and a noncontagious acute fever marked by inflammation and pain in the joints. It chiefly affects young people and is caused by a streptococcal infection. Rheumatic fever will go after […]
3 years ago
...
Emily Ashmead

Shanalee Sadler, Alta High School

The following was submitted by Shana Davis. Shanalee Sadler is a special education teacher at Alta High School. She has been my son’s teacher for the past 3 and a half years. My son has autism and is a senior at Alta High School. Mrs. Sadler has gone to great lengths to teach my son […]
3 years ago
...
Emily Ashmead

Alice Erickson, Willow Canyon Elementary

The following was submitted by Amourette Bradley. “Have you ever had a teacher that stood above the rest? What if thirty years later, your child shared that same teacher? And what if he or she proved not only as extraordinary as you remembered, but even more so? Alice Erickson is that most extraordinary teacher. Many […]
3 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.