FAIRHOPE'S PARRISH ALFA TEACHER OF MONTH
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Polly Parrish's students may not have all the tools students typically enjoy, but she expects no less of them.
"I believe students with disabilities will succeed only when teachers have high expectations, and develop the teaching skills necessary to improve student outcomes for all students through implementation of evidence-based programs that are closely aligned to standards and alternate standards," said Parrish.
It is because of her high expectations -- and her success in helping students meet those expectations -- that Parrish, a special education teacher at Fairhope Intermediate School, has been selected Alfa's Teacher of the Month for December. As this month's winner, she will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance, and her school will receive a matching award from the Alabama Farmers Federation.
Parrish, who holds a master's degree in special education from the University of South Alabama, is a proponent of both the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, saying both evolved from the belief that student output and achievement are connected to the level of expectations teachers set.
That's why she applies those principals to her role as a "highly qualified" teacher at the WINGS Day Treatment Program, a collaborative program between Baldwin County Public Schools and Baldwin County Mental Health.
"Her patience and kind heart add a special dimension to her natural teaching ability," said Roxanna Carpenter, special education coordinator for Baldwin County Public Schools. "Polly is teaching in one of the most demanding settings."
Carol Broughton, principal of Fairhope Intermediate School, points to Parrish's role as a leader and advocate of children with disabilities.
"Polly is called to teach with a spirit that is unstoppable in bettering the education and lives of our disabled children," said Broughton. "Polly is a winner for the children of Alabama!"
During 2008, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation will honor one outstanding teacher from each of Alabama's eight state school board districts, as well as two principals and two private school teachers. Application information is available under Alfa Teacher of the Month in the Ag Links section of www.AlfaFarmers.org.