2023 Golden Apple Award Finalists

Jennifer Rowe

Jennifer Rowe of Rockford is in her eighth year of teaching. She previously taught sixth-eighth grade sheltered immersion math; she is now in her third year of teaching fourth graders at Whitehead Elementary. Principal Paula Randall says, “She is a very knowledgeable teacher who works diligently to understand and implement the curriculum as well as advocate for her students’ wellbeing throughout the school year.” Kirsten Garrigan, Principal/Superintendent at Eswood Community Consolidated School District, was principal at Lincoln Middle School in Rockford when Jennifer taught there. She wrote that that Jennifer’s “intensity and commitment to find and do what is right for her students is second to none.” That commitment led her to join other staff members at LMS to start a restorative justice program. She also led the curriculum leadership team. Jennifer wrote in her essay, “Seeing students not just as individual learners, but also as individual people, is always important.” A former teacher who observed Jennifer was “impressed by her patience and support of students’ individual personalities.” Garrigan added that, “Jennifer has an innate ability, along with her intense planning, to differentiate and provide individualized instruction for each one of her students. She knows her students, always pushing them to be their very best.” Promoting independence is also important to Jennifer. She says she wants students “to verify, question and collaborate with others and attempt to solve problems themselves, before they come to me.” Another classroom observer took note of how Jennifer encourages students to solve problems by asking what they’re thinking about regarding the problem, asking them to turn to a partner to explain and asking for others to offer different strategies. Students listened and learned through her questioning. Jennifer makes sure that each student is called to participate. Another observer was amazed at her classroom management skills, which seemed amazingly effortless.