Rita Frost, Self-Contained Classroom Teacher for Grades four through five, was named Benjamin Banneker Elementary’s 2014 Teacher of the Year. Teaching in the Milford School District for three years now, Frost has over 18 years of experience teaching kids with special needs.
After graduating from Milford High School, Frost earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Wilmington University. She began working at Nurses n’ Kids child care center in Milford where she worked alongside nurses, physical therapists and speech pathologists as they cared for children with mild to severe medical conditions. It was here that Frost knew instantly that she would work with special needs children.
“I knew from that point I wanted to work with children with special needs, “ commented Frost. “They captured my heart and I knew it was a fit for me.”
After two years at working at the Wishing Well pediatric center, Frost began teaching in the Caesar Rodney School District as a Special Education Resource Teacher. Now in her third year at Benjamin Banneker Elementary in Milford, she teaches multiple grade levels of reading and math to children in a single classroom. After 15 years in the classroom, Frost states that it is still rewarding to see the daily accomplishments students achieve and their attitude towards each other.
“It is rewarding to watch the classroom succeed and how excited they react to their accomplishments,” commented Frost. “There is something about working special education, they appreciate the love we build in the classroom together.”
Academically driven, Frost’s lesson plans include an Individualized Education Plan for each student where they work on their reading and math at varied levels. Although one student may learn at a different rate, she instills confidence in her children and lets them know that learning in their own unique way is fine.
“I want them to be successful and know they can do anything they set their mind to,” commented Frost. “I want them to know they are loved and have them be confident as they move to the next level.”
The success of her current and past students are how Frost measures her impact as a teacher. One young man who arrived in her classroom as a fourth grader without any reading skills is now a fifth grader who has become an enthusiastic reader who is never without a book close by. He is presently reading at a second grade level. Her ideas of teaching include teaching the whole student, implying that she not only teach academically, but socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.
“…becoming a successful reader has opened many doors for him,” commented Frost. “His success as a student has been greatly impacted. His behavior has remarkably improved over the past two years with me as well.”
Frost is now educating the next generation of Special Education professionals, as she teaches at Wilmington University where she has the opportunity to teach future leaders of the classroom. She reminds them that the teaching profession is about one thing, the children.
“You have to have compassion, think about how you make the children feel,” commented Frost. “If you can instill confidence you can make a difference in their lives.”
Frost will now compete at the district level, against her peers in the Milford School District, where the winner of that competition will face distinguished teachers from across the state of Delaware.