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Tracie Dupin confessed she was nervous about her son entering preschool.
“On the first day of school, I admit, I was worried,” she said.
But she soon learned what the state of Kentucky now knows about the classroom of Samantha Hart at Creekside Elementary School.
“Ms. Sam, your classroom is excellent,” she told Hart at an awards assembly Tuesday for the teacher.
Hart was recognized for having a Classroom of Excellence, a distinction given to preschool classes by the Kentucky Department of Education.
Hart’s classroom is the fifth in Hardin County Schools to receive the recognition and one of only 30 classrooms in the state.
Dupin said she was worried about her son’s verbal skills and how he would progress in preschool.
“It didn’t take long for Ms. Sam to prove me wrong,” she said.
Being named a Classroom of Excellence involves several steps. It includes an all-day observation in which a KDE representative evaluates the classroom environment and interaction between students and teaching staff; a qualitative self-study in which the lead teacher reflects on lessons and how they implement early childhood standards; and another meeting with a department representative.
Hart was presented with a certificate and classroom supplies by Katie Shaughnessy-Williams, a KDE school readiness consultant.
Carlena Sheeran, director of early childhood education for HCS, gave Hart a plaque for her door, to inform everyone entering the room of the award.
“We are beyond proud of what you do every day to do what’s best for your students and your families,” Sheeran said.
Hart thanked everyone who worked with her through the process, including her co-workers and the school and district administrators. She expressed gratitude to the parents who chose to send their child to preschool.
“I thank you for giving us the opportunity to teach your children,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.