2024 Golden Apple Finalists

Amy Avery

Amy Avery of Cherry Valley has been a Spanish teacher for 17 years, the past 7 at Guilford. Amy was nominated by the parent of one of her students: “She gives her all, and brings real energy to her classes. You can tell she loves what she’s doing and wants to spark a love of learning in her students. My daughter can’t say enough good things.” Amy says her “commitment is to encourage a growth mindset where students believe they can improve through their own hard work. I provide the tools for success; they just need to meet me halfway (and they do).” During her career, Amy has changed districts, moving from a school in which students were motivated, high-achieving learners to one in which many students are reluctant learners without a solid support base. She had to switch focus from helping the school’s community coaching, advising and sponsoring activities to building student confidence and creating engaging lessons. One way she does this is through stressing comprehensibility over perfection. She also builds lessons on theme days like Crazy Monday and Music Wednesdays, taking topics that lead students to share thoughts and experiences, while building conversation skills and confidence in the language. Crazy Monday starts with a crazy images or news stories, but ends up providing lessons about cultural differences. Her lessons do not follow chapters in a textbook but challenge students to immerse themselves into the language. In a letter of recommendation, Amy’s assistant principal shared a unique aspect of Amy’s techniques. “No one assignment or test is ever considered the final data point for student mastery. Rather, she looks at the results of her multiple quizzes, questioning and exit tickets she gives in a single class period. Her students do not know she is assessing them until she informs them later on in the week. As such, the testing anxiety some students feel is nonexistent in her classroom because students just, in her words, ‘do Spanish.’”