Thank You, Ms. Dara Messing!

It is teachers like Ms. Messing who play a critical role in educating and shaping our children. They are kind, patient, hard-working, dedicated, and understanding professionals who help mold our children and guide them in positive directions. 

Charity Hendrickson, an Early Literacy Coach in our Philadelphia region took some time to shine a spotlight on Ms. Messing. We asked Charity a few questions about her teacher honoree. See what she shared about Ms. Messing below:

Q: What did your teacher identify as her children’s needs during this pandemic?

A: Ms. Messing knows how difficult this year has been on her students and their families. She is such a creative teacher. She is like a performer giving an award-winning performance every day. Her lessons are creative with a lot of interactive components. She makes sure every student has an opportunity to be involved and share. 

Ms. Messing cares so deeply for every child in her class and takes time to work one-on-one with any student needing extra support. During the pandemic she has learned numerous online platforms that help her design engaging lesson that keep her students motivated and wanting to attend school every day.

Q: How has your teacher shown resilience during this school year?

A: Ms. Messing shows a lot of resilience in her teaching. She is often full of energy and has a bubbly personality. Ms. Messing builds positive relationships with each of her students and their families. She views teaching Social Emotional Skills as a very important part of supporting her students and creating a caring classroom community.

By spending time lifting up and acknowledging her students gifts she instills a sense of meaning and purpose in her students and in the work they do. Ms. Messing tackles challenges with confidence, she has learned many new online platforms so she can deliver the best instruction to her students.

Q: How has your teacher cultivated community within his/her classroom?

A: There are many ways that Ms. Messing cultivates community in her classroom. She makes it a daily task that every student gets an opportunity to speak or answer questions. She also lets children call on each other for help or to work together. On Fridays she has “Fun Friday” where the children get to socialize and enjoy fun games and recess together.

Ms. Messing also creates lessons that give her students opportunities to share things about themselves with each other. She recently did a writing exercise that had each child write about something they know a lot about. This led them to breaking down their “I Know A Lot About” stories into a detailed story about something each individual student is passionate about and gave them a chance to share their stories with each other.

Q: How is the teacher creating some sense of normalcy within his/her classroom?

A: Ms. Messing’s classroom is a very normal first grade classroom. Every child knows the expectations and virtual rules. Ms. Messing spent a lot of the beginning of the school year laying a foundation of respect, caring, and listening to each other. She taught her students how to use the many features of online learning so they can be successful

She works daily (into the night) on her lesson plans so they are engaging and meet each child’s learning style. She also makes sure her students receive their Book Trust books by having distribution days for families to pick them up.

Q: How has your relationship with your teacher grown?

A: Ms. Messing has always welcomed me into her classroom. She is always open to ideas and we spend numinous hours brainstorming and working together on lessons. We have built a wonderful relationship with a foundation of respect and caring.

Ms. Messing knows she can always reach out to me and I will support her in any way possible. My relationship with Ms. Messing had grown so much this year. She is a incredible teacher and we are both very invested in teaching, growing and being there for her students.


Share Your Appreciation!

This year, get involved and thank a teacher! We invite you to join our month-long movement. Do you know a teacher hero? Is your teacher a hero? Let them know!

Post a video of you thanking a very special teacher. In 60-90 seconds, tell us who you teacher is and most importantly, tell us why you believe they are a hero! 

Each video shared, tagging us, @CLIupdates, and using the #CLIHeroes hashtag, will be featured on our social channels and will be included in our special video compilation at the end of the month!

Make sure your teacher hero is a part of this special moment, and share your video!



Record your Teacher Hero thank you video.



Post to your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter account. Make sure you include the #CLIHeroes hashtag.



Each video posted, tagging us and using the #CLIHeroes hashtag, will be featured on our social channels and will be included in our special video compilation at the end of the month!


Celebrating Teachers on the Frontline


LaShawnda McKenzie
Early Literacy Specialist

See LaShawnda's Thank You Story Here >>

Charity Hendrickson
Early Literacy Specialist

See Charity's Thank You Story Here >>

Stacer Reeves
Early Literacy Specialist

See Stacer's Thank You Story Here >>

Priscila Antuna
Early Literacy Specialist

See Priscila's Thank You Story Here >>

Maria Lipperini
Early Literacy Specialist

See Maria's Thank You Story Here >>

Ginger Hayes
Early Literacy Specialist

See Ginger's Thank You Story Here >>


Raise a Glass for Reading!

After a season of showcasing the unique stories of the teachers we serve and emphasizing the importance and impact of continued support for our teachers, schools, and larger communities, we come together to celebrate literacy! 

Showcase your commitment to children’s literacy, early childhood education and social justice, and join us June 10 for a wonderful event.

Click here to learn more and secure tickets! >>

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