“Not only did Mrs. Boyer contribute to my academic excellence, she helped me become the woman I am today.” A former student who’s since graduated from high school shared this praise in a letter of recommendation for Ashley Boyer, who teaches English and Reading to eighth graders at Poplar Grove’s North Boone Middle School. The Genoa resident has been at NBMS for nine years. She previously taught Social Studies at Dundee Middle School. Differentiation is a daily part of lessons; Ashley has found ways through technology to modify assignments without students even knowing that they're taking a different test. “At times, I have up to four modified assignments taking place, all with the same objectives, but written or presented differently to meet individual needs.” Acknowledging that middle school can be a challenging time, Ashley says, “Captivating the minds of teenagers so they are interested in reading and writing, rather than boring into the depth of YouTube channels can be an overwhelming feat, but with the understanding that commitment applies to more than just my lesson plans, it becomes a feasible task.” When Ashley observes a problem in the school, whether academic or emotional/social, she is committed to finding solutions. From one such issue, she developed an anti-bullying organization, FIRE (Friendships Include Respecting Everyone), in which students are the sole ambassadors. They help peers with problems, teach lessons to study hall classes, model inclusive behaviors and plan school-wide events such as “Start the Day with Hello” week. Increased inclusion, trust and confidence, as well as the breaking of stereotypes are a few of the results the FIRE group has produced. Beyond advising FIRE and connecting with a diverse group of middle schoolers to meet their academic, social and emotional needs, Ashley serves on the board of a nonprofit, is a Sunday school teacher, a park district sports coach, a leader for staff versus students events and mentor to two new teachers and three students.