Yes, That Student Is Holding a Real Heart
Boone Elementary’s Alex Smith keeps TAG lessons challenging, intriguing
Through 15 years of pig heart dissections, imaginary million-dollar spending sprees, and riveting robotics, Boone Elementary School’s Alex Smith has formulated a winning teaching philosophy.
“I always want my classroom to be a warm and engaging spot for kids,” Smith said. “They’ll learn more with that mindset.”
It’s her ambitious classroom projects, along with her reputation for kindness, empathy, and passion, that Smith’s second-through fourth-grade Talented and Gifted (TAG) students and their parents mentioned when they nominated her for PC-TAG Teacher of the Year.
I really hope that on an academic level, I push and encourage my students to continue to be both curious and problem solvers throughout their lives.Alex Smith
She won for 2020-2021.
“I really hope that on an academic level, I push and encourage my students to continue to be both curious and problem solvers throughout their lives,” Smith said.
Although Smith has always taught TAG students, it wasn’t until she earned her master’s degree that she truly realized her love for the unique learning styles of TAG students.
“People who haven’t been educated on the background of TAG students just think they learn faster, but in reality, their needs can be a lot more unique than that,” Smith explained. “After grad school, it was my goal to become a TAG teacher – my dream job.”
Smith recognized that working in HPISD allows teachers to grow along with their students.
“We work in such a unique place in that we are encouraged to try new things and are so supported by parents.”
Teachers like Smith are a quintessential part of HPISD. By fostering inclusive learning environments and ensuring that every student’s needs are met, these teachers make lasting impacts on students’ lives, regardless of whether they are TAG identified.
Teaching her students to take risks and explore their passions and curiosities is a cornerstone of her teaching, Smith said. “Oftentimes, these ideas are the ones that may change the world in the best ways.”
Highland Park High School Senior Juliet Allan loves to sing and write.