Volunteer of the Month

Mrs. Marva Connolly

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Mrs. Marva Connolly

We Are Better Together. All Means All. Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork. These sayings capture what it means to be a part of Anne Arundel County Public Schools. And fortunately, a great many volunteers emulate and personify them.

Today we are here to celebrate the dedication of one such volunteer. Mrs. Marva Connolly, the Board of Education is thrilled to honor you as our December 2019 Volunteer of the Month.

After retiring from a career of teaching, Ms. Connolly offered her time and resources to support the literacy development of the 1st grade students at Shady Side Elementary. Every week, she can be found in the hallway practicing rainbow words – also known as sight words -- with students. According to 1st grade teacher Jennifer Sturgell, “students faces light up when they see her enter the school and know this is the day the “Rainbow Lady” will be here!” She has the system organized like a well-oiled machine. Giving individual students support, assessments and incentives.

Mrs. Connolly goes out of her way to build a one-on-one relationship with each of the 80 students she works with. 1st grade teacher Sarah Harris shared that when Mrs. Connolly noticed a student struggling this year, she asked if she could bring in some matching words games and try some new techniques to help the student recognize the words.

Not surprisingly, Mrs. Connolly’s work is getting results. When the rainbow word program was first implemented, the teachers struggled to find time to access each student weekly in addition to providing Guided Reading instruction. But once Mrs. Connolly began to work with the students, the teachers noticed a considerable difference in their sight word recognition. Students were excited, engaged, and truly impacted by her presence.

Mrs. Connolly also works to engage family members. In addition to incentives such as stickers or bookmarks, she gives each child a sticky note with the words they need to continue to work on at home. This gives families a conversation starter to discuss the work they have completed with Mrs. Connolly that day.

Mrs. Connolly you are a great asset to Shady Side Elementary School and the entire Anne Arundel County Public Schools community, and we thank you for your unwavering dedication to the students at Shady Side.

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