Almond teacher honored as ‘Hero’ in the classroom

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Almond School’s Amy Shelley, right, with a San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleader, accepts the Heroes in the Classroom Award.

Almond School sixth-grade teacher Amy Shelley recently received the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom Award.

The San Francisco 49ers and Symetra Financial partnered to initiate the Heroes program, which recognizes teachers who demonstrate outstanding dedication, leadership and instructional skills in the classroom.

Program representatives visited Shelley in class Nov. 28, awarding her a $1,000 donation to use in the classroom and two tickets to a 49ers home football game, where she will be recognized on the scoreboard during the game.

An Almond parent who wished to remain anonymous nominated Shelley for the award. In the nomination paperwork, the parent lauded Shelley’s achievements.

“(Amy) Shelley, in her young, brilliant career as an educator, has already achieved the kinds of milestones in her eight years of teaching that veterans would dream of,” the parent wrote. “She has been the beloved leader blazing the path for her colleagues to introduce and incorporate technology into teaching in ways that embrace the best of 21st century learning, vs. textbook delivery via a laptop.”

The parent praised Shelley for her influence in Almond’s Project Cornerstone program, whose mission is to “build a web of support around young people so that they grow into healthy, caring and responsible adults.”

“I feel so honored and grateful to be selected as one of the 49ers Heroes in the Classroom,” Shelley said in an email to the Town Crier. “Teachers continually work hard to create the best learning environment for their students and many times that consists of spending numerous late nights lesson planning, grading papers, emailing, exploring and creating new ways to engage the students each day.  It feels great to know that I work in a community of students and parents who recognize and appreciate this hard work that all teachers do each day for their students.”

Shelley’s nomination form details how she underscores for students the importance of giving back to the community. She and her students participate in coastal cleanup projects, recycle, compost and write letters to the government.

“She participates with the children and gives them a sense of value and self-worth,” the nomination papers stated.

Shelley serves on the Los Altos School District’s Technology Committee and trained 24 other district teachers in “iLearn,” a program that emphasizes technology integration.

“Amelia Shelley embodies all that she espouses – she is what she inspires others to be – intelligent, a self-directed learner, compassionate, humble and a global citizen,” her nomination stated. “Students and adults alike believe in what she is and what she says, and are motivated to take her challenges to self-improve.”

The parent who nominated Shelley for the award said her son was in Shelley’s class, and the highlight of his year was participating in the coastal cleanup.

“He was most impressed with how Ms. Shelley arrived at 10 a.m. on a beautiful Saturday to be with her sixth-grade students and pick up the materials that otherwise float to our waters and contaminate our sources,” the parent wrote.

Shelley said she loves to teach and treasures the little things.

“It is the small moments each day when students leave your classroom smiling or being sure to say ‘Have a good day’  and ‘Thank you’ that make the late nights and hard work worth it,” she said.

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