Humbolt Elementary School teacher Sophie Cosgrove has been named as the 2014 Oregon Small Schools Association (OSSA) Teacher of the Year.
Cosgrove has taught at Humbolt Elementary in the Grant School District in Canyon City for 24 years, the past two as a 4th grade teacher. She has also taught kindergarten and the 2nd grade.
Cosgrove’s colleagues, including her superintendent Mark Witty, cite her “impressive” commitment to the teaching profession and her acceptance and willingness to adapt to the challenge of providing a 21st Century education for students as some of the reasons for her nomination for the prestigious annual award.
“Her love of her students is demonstrated by her exceptional care in preparing quality lessons every day that meet the needs of all of her students,” Witty said.
Cosgrove said that she has seen many trends come and go in education throughout her career, but her passion for her students’ success has never wavered.
“I am excited to be teaching at a time when the trend is towards rigorous standards and high levels of accountability for both students and teachers,” she said. “Students’ confidence and self-esteem is built, not by frequent praise, but by success in completing a difficult task after repeated attempts and periodic failures. One of the most important things we can teach our students is that learning is intrinsically enjoyable and striving for success is a reward in itself.”
Cosgrove is known for committing many hours outside of the school day toward her craft. Over the summer, Cosgrove volunteered during Summer School to work with her incoming 4th grade students who were below grade-level on math and reading skills in an effort to ensure they had a jump start coming into her class that fall.
“Sophie strives to break down any barriers that might keep students from academic achievement,” said her colleagues Didgette McCracken and Devin Moan, math and reading Title coordinators at Humbolt Elementary. “Her devotion to maximizing student potential on her own time is unmatched and rarely observed in the field of education. Her students’ interest is always in the forefront of Sophie’s mind. She is the epitome of what all educators should strive for and an inspiration to both of us.”Cosgrove’s success can also be seen through her students’ success on last year’s Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) test. Every single one of her students met or exceeded OAKS benchmarks in both reading and math – a feat nearly unheard of in the state.
Cosgrove’s philosophy on student success demonstrates her “students first” mindset: “The success of our students depends on a relentless commitment to excellence by everyone involved in education. Our students deserve nothing less.”