Miss McVeigh Receives 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award
Posted On:
Thursday, February 02, 2017

CONGRATULATIONS to Miss Jessica McVeigh on being selected to receive the 2017 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award (1st year teacher). Miss McVeigh is currently a 5th grade English Language Arts teacher at Veterans Park Elementary School.  For McVeigh this opportunity felt like she had returned home, having attended Veterans Park, herself, as an elementary student, and going on to graduate from Ludlow High School in 2011.

Prior to assuming her current teaching position McVeigh student taught at Veterans Park in the spring of 2015, in a 4th grade classroom. After graduating from the Elms in 2015, with a degree in Elementary Education, she was hired as the permanent building substitute teacher at Veterans Park. In this position her self motivation, creative talent and ability to incorporate engaging, relevant and focused lessons were quickly evident and admired by her colleagues.

Veterans Park Principal, Mrs. Melissa Knowles, explained that McVeigh is the general education teacher in an inclusion classroom alongside special education teacher, Mrs. Kaitlin Cookish.   “Jessica is only in her first year of teaching but teaches like a veteran. Her quiet confidence and leadership is a tremendous asset to the Veterans Park community,” shared Knowles.  “She holds very high expectations for herself and her students.  Her dedication and commitment to making a difference for all children reaches far beyond the classroom. I am beyond thrilled for Jessica to receive this very well deserved award!”

Of her co-teacher, Cookish proudly shared, “First and foremost, Jessica is kind, compassionate and exudes an incredible passion for teaching. Within our classroom, our students feel safe and cared for. Each day she gives freely of her time, energy and love to each student she encounters, without reservation.”

“Jessica is the epitome of a co-teacher and teammate,” continued Cookish. “Together we plan, create and share.  We brainstorm together, support one another and tackle situations both positive and negative, together.  With Jessica by my side I feel supported, energized and joyful.”

Miss Christine James, a fellow 5th grade teacher, shared, “Jessica incorporates engagement strategies into her daily lessons, heightening the task complexity for students and therefore furthering their learning.  She has created a learning environment that enables all of her student to grow and be successful.”

McVeigh has built positive relationships among her colleagues which has led to effective collaboration during common planning time, faculty meetings and grade level meetings. She also volunteers for PBIS reward activities, committees and helps plan, create and enable school wide events come to fruition.

This summer, McVeigh’s giving nature reached far beyond the walls of Veterans Park School when she traveled to Africa to volunteer her time to bring much needed supplies to schools, churches and an orphanage, over a two week period.

James perhaps summarized the feeling of many teachers and students about the positive impact McVeigh has had on the Veterans Park community, “Jessica’s kindness bridges a connection between students, parents, school and community. The Ludlow Public Schools and the Ludlow community is lucky to be able to call Jessica one of their own.”

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