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This after-school reading club helps emerging bilingual students

Over the past few years Jessica Grant Van Lankvelt, a literacy interventionist at Alicia Sanchez Elementary School, noticed many students who are emerging bilingual did not have opportunities to practice reading in English. Sometimes parents are literate in different languages or they work evening hours which makes them unavailable to support their student’s literacy during the week.

This can make it hard for these students to progress in their English literacy skills as quickly as their monolingual English peers.

Jessica Grant Van Lankvelt
Literacy Interventionist at Alicia Sanchez Elementary School

Jessica wanted to level the playing field and provide these students opportunities to grow as readers. She received an Academic Opportunity Fund grant from Impact on Education to start an after-school reading club to support these students. The grant funding allows the school to pay staff to run the program.

How does the reading club work?

17 emerging bilingual students in 1st through 3rd grades participate in the Reading Club program after school. Each week students practice reading and listening with program volunteers. Over 20 volunteers – both students from Peak to Peak Charter School and adults from the community – support the program.

Reading Club provides students with opportunities to practice reading in English. They also get to practice newly learned literacy skills with volunteers who can give immediate, corrective feedback. Volunteers also read books of the students’ choice to them, helping their oral language and vocabulary, which are necessary for reading comprehension. Both the acts of practicing reading and listening to proficient readers read aloud are important for growing strong readers.

I just love the energy of the students and watching how they gain competency over time. And I enjoy building relationships with them through reading, which is something I personally love to do.

Nancy L., Reading Club Volunteer

Empowering young students

At the end of the school year Jessica will be able to see the progress these students have made on their school assessments. But in just a few weeks they’ve already seen some students build stronger accuracy and fluency. “Students feel empowered and like they are part of a team,” she says. “And their parents have been very supportive and encouraged by the extra help given to their students.”

I have noticed that my child has made a lot of progress and she has more retention in her reading.

Parent of Reading Club participant at Alicia Sanchez Elementary

This weekly program allows struggling readers to experience the joy of books and learn about the world around them. Students also see how their practice with volunteers is helping to build their reading skills, building confidence in their reading.

Engaging students in learning 

Our Academic Opportunity Fund provides educators and schools with the resources they need to bridge the opportunity gap. 

We offered two rounds of funding during the 2023-24 school year and awarded $154,680 across 141 grants.

From tutoring and equipment to field trip fees and newcomer student support, these grants expand access to resources and opportunities for BVSD students. Supporters like you allow us to provide these impactful grants to educators across the district, making a difference in students’ lives. 

You can help by making a gift to support our work or becoming an Impact on Education volunteer and helping review grant applications like Jessica’s next year!

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

How mock interviews support career readiness for high schoolers

For students in our Career Readiness Academy, mock interviews are more than just a practice run – they’re a safe space to explore their potential, polish their skills and practice professional communication.

In today’s fast-paced world where first impressions can make or break opportunities, these workshops help students build confidence and prepare for real-world challenges ahead. They also offer a unique opportunity for volunteers to engage with the next generation, sharing their expertise and learning in the process.

Thank you to all of our volunteers! These workshops rely on people like you donating your time and talent. We appreciate you, and so do these students!


More workshop photos can be found at the end of this story.

The mock interview experience

Participating in mock interviews can be a transformative experience for students. It’s during these three 7-minute interviews that they learn the subtle art of making eye contact, the importance of speaking confidently about their achievements, and how to navigate common interview questions.

I loved the workshop, as it progressed I gained confidence and it became much easier.

– Laura M., BVSD student

Students often start the workshop with a mix of excitement and nervousness, but as they engage in simulated interviews, receive feedback, and observe their peers, a profound change occurs. They leave the workshop not just with enhanced interview skills, but a newfound confidence in their ability to communicate their ideas and aspirations.

I really liked how many different interviewers there were to get multiple perspectives. 

– Henry D., BVSD Student

Our workshop volunteers bring diverse professional backgrounds to the experience and also find the workshops to be rewarding. Volunteers witness firsthand the eagerness and potential of the students and get to provide constructive feedback and share insights from their own experiences. The workshops are a reminder of the diverse paths to success and the importance of guidance and encouragement in shaping young careers.

Laying the groundwork for success

Mock interviews are just one of 10 workshops that make up the Career Readiness Academy, helping ensure students are adequately prepared for the interviews. Before this workshop students have explored their purpose and passions, learned about possible careers and BVSD opportunities that can support them, and practiced professional communication and interview skills.

One of the most important steps students take during the Career Readiness Academy is creating a resume. 

[I was surprised] how much they progressed from the first round to the third round of interviews. And how well prepared their resumes were!

– Erika W., Mock Interview Volunteer

Learning how to highlight their skills, experiences and achievements prepares them for the immediate task of presenting themselves professionally, but also instills a sense of confidence and self-awareness. 

More than just interview skills

For students these workshops extend beyond the goal of improving interview skills – the feedback and process often sparks self-reflection and personal growth. They also serve as a platform for networking, allowing students to connect with professionals who can offer guidance, mentorship, and sometimes even opportunities for internships or jobs.

The experience was eye-opening around what I thought I knew about teenagers. It was positive and exciting to learn more about IOE, and the volunteer team was energized, positive, and varied, which was great to experience and be part of.

– Emily T., Mock Interview Volunteer

[I enjoyed] the variety and the opportunity to speak to the kids. I never find myself interacting with students in that age group so it was a lovely step out of my norm.

– Kyle A., Mock Interview Volunteer

For volunteers the experience is equally enriching. Engaging with students allows them to give back to the community in a meaningful way, sharing their knowledge and experiences to help shape the workforce of tomorrow. It also offers them a fresh perspective on the challenges and aspirations of this younger generation.

A foundation for future success

Mock interview workshops show the value of practical, experiential learning.They underscore the importance of preparation, practice, and feedback in finding professional success, and offer both students and volunteers an invaluable experience that resonates long after the interviews are over.

Hearing the students describe what they learned from the interviews was the best part!

– Erika W., Mock Interview Volunteer

Through all of the Career Readiness Academy workshops, the journey of career exploration and personal growth goes hand in hand, laying a solid foundation for future success.

Photo Gallery

Click on any photo below to enlarge.

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Daily acts of impact: Board member Ema Lyman’s 24-year career empowering BVSD youth

By Alison Meyer

After dedicating 24 years to serving the young people of Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), Ema Lyman isn’t interested in measuring the broad achievements of her career. Instead, she prefers to focus on the impact she makes each day. “I help where I can. I smile a lot and if I get a smile back, I’ve succeeded. I don’t need to know if my students will grow into success stories — my work is unconditional.”

Lyman, a McKinney Vento specialist and child welfare liaison, provides support to students experiencing housing instability and those in the foster care system. She is also a member of the Impact on Education Board of Directors

Born and raised in Santiago, Chile, Lyman grew up in a family that deeply valued education.

“My parents instilled in me that education was more important than anything,” she said. “Education for the sake of being educated, not for the sake of advancing in status or society, getting a wonderful job or being famous.”

While attending an all-girls Catholic school taught by American and Italian nuns, Lyman, who is no longer affiliated with a religion, learned the value of helping others. “To the nuns it wasn’t important to go to mass or confession,” she said. “The important thing was to feed the family down the street. I was very fortunate because they taught me civic duty and social support.”

New culture, same commitment

After finishing high school, Lyman began studying architecture. Around that time, her father’s company transferred him to an office in Denver, Colorado, and the entire family moved with him. Lyman finished college at the University of Colorado at Boulder, earning an environmental design and planning degree.

Soon after graduation, Lyman got married and had three children. “I was able to be a stay-at-home mom, which is what I always wanted,” she shared. Curious about her children’s experience in a North American school, Lyman became an active volunteer with BVSD. As she volunteered, Lyman started to notice demographic changes in the district.

“There were many more children of color and second language speakers, and the support for them wasn’t there.”

That first-hand experience would stick with Lyman and eventually bring her back to the school district. As her children grew older, Lyman went to work as an interior designer. After a ten-year career, Lyman couldn’t deny her desire to do something about the disparity she saw between schools and her clients. “I learned how much money this state, city and this country has,” she said. “I knew that it was imperative to channel all that into something that would better the community and society in general.”

Officially an educator

Taking action on everything she had learned so far, Lyman applied for a job with BVSD and was immediately hired. Initially, she worked in the Office of Open Enrollment and then as a community liaison and a language assessor. In her 50s, wanting to know more about how to help English learners, Lyman returned to school again. She earned her master’s degree in multicultural and English-as-a-second language education. 

Through her work in the schools Lyman learned about Impact on Education, eventually joining their board.

“It was a natural marriage for me to volunteer with them because I was already very involved and aware of everything they do and provide to our community.”

As someone who has worked directly with the recipients of Impact on Education’s support, Lyman knows firsthand the critical role the foundation plays in Boulder Valley schools. 

Through her approach to taking each day as an opportunity to give, Lyman has spent a lifetime dedicated to empowering young people through education. “To gain a measure of immortality and success in life is to enable and guide the next generation, whether they’re your children or not. It was a message given to me by the nuns whom I loved so dearly and I still believe it.”

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

A look back at our top moments of 2023

As we near the end of the year, we’re reflecting on the important work we’ve done to support local students and schools. You can read more about our accomplishments in our 2023 Impact Report and we encourage you to peruse our most popular blog articles of the year. 

Our ten most read stories of the year highlight our mission and commitment to providing students access to excellent and equitable education. Thank you for being part of this important work!

#10 – Board Chair David Ziegert grateful to be part of Impact On Education’s evolution

David always intended to be a high school math teacher. But his nighttime job at Celestial Seasonings — taken to pay for classes at the University of Colorado — turned into a career. Ziegert was with the Boulder-based tea company for 22 years, eventually becoming general manager. And though not in the way he expected, Ziegert did find his way back to education as a Board Member for Impact on Education.

#9 – Announcing our 2023 college scholarship awardees

We’re excited to share that we’ve funded over $40,000 in scholarships for Boulder Valley School District graduates this year, including $18,000 in scholarship renewals and $23,000 to graduating seniors in the Class of 2023.

#8 – Impact on Education welcomes three new board members

Our Board of Directors plays an important role in our work to engage students and empower educators across the Boulder Valley School District. Three new Board Members – Amy Pickens, Bill de la Cruz, and Dan Konigsburg – will support this work and further our mission.

#7 – The growth, success and challenges of Crayons to Calculators

Through the leadership of Impact on Education and dedicated individuals and organizations in our community, Crayons to Calculators has provided school supplies to over 130,000 students over the past 18 years.

#6 – Funding mental health and student well-being

We are committed to providing an elevated level of mental health support for all students, especially those affected by the Marshall Fire. From Wellness Centers to Mental Health Advocates, we’re working toward three goals that would allow us to serve 11,698 students at 12 schools across BVSD.

#5 – How much does it cost to live in Boulder County?

Everyone in our community is experiencing increased costs for food, fuel and other basic necessities. Rising prices mean families across our community are struggling to make ends meet. Every school in the Boulder Valley School District includes families facing financial challenges.

#4 – Community Conversation brings youth mental health to the forefront

Young people today are experiencing a mental health crisis unlike anything we’ve seen before. Nearly one in five youth in Colorado reported poor mental health in 2021 — double the rate seen in 2017. Social media, the pandemic, and climate change were just some of the external pressures students and parents cited during a panel discussion that gathered more than 300 people at Manhattan Middle School on April 12, 2023.

#3 – Dr. Amy Pickens helps BVSD students find a sense of belonging

Amy (Nelson) Pickens works tirelessly to advance equity across Boulder Valley School District. A former educator, she is starting her fourth year working with BVSD administration and currently serves as the Director of Equity and Community Engagement.

#2 – Behind the scenes at the 2023 Impact Awards

On May 3, 2023 we held our 30th Annual Impact Awards celebration! Since 1993, the Impact Awards has recognized hundreds of educators – teachers, custodians, office managers, food service employees, crossing guards, and more – from each school across BVSD. The energy of our dedicated educators was incredible and the event was a great success – thank you to everyone who joined us!

#1 – How BVSD Wellness Centers support student resilience

We’re funding Wellness Centers across Boulder Valley School District because we believe they’re powerful tools for supporting our youth and helping them thrive. Students need support to manage their emotional health. Mental Health Advocates can help teach them how, while the BVSD Wellness Centers give them the space to do so.

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

How Social Venture Partners helped us navigate unprecedented growth

“Over the past three years we’ve watched and supported Impact on Education as it grew and matured. The organization is clear about its mission, vision, and how it intends to achieve both. Impact on Education has strong leadership both on the Board of Directors and in their staff. And they all work together as a team.”

Kay Paine, one of our partners with the Social Venture Partners (SVP) Catapult program, shared these remarks at our graduation from the program earlier this month.

What is the SVP Catapult program?

The SVP (Social Venture Partners) Catapult program is a unique initiative designed to propel nonprofit organizations to new heights. By providing strategic guidance and financial support, SVP Catapult helps organizations like us expand their capabilities, reach, and impact. 

We joined the program in 2020 and since then SVP partners have provided Impact on Education with 554 hours of support and provided $41,000. Thank you to all of the partners we worked with, including Kay Paine, Karin Lindgren, Josh Silberstein, Cathleen Kendall, Mark Bouzek, Shawna Peterson, and Maegan Vallejo.

3 ways SVP supported our growth

Strategic Planning and DEI Work

When we talk about supporting the Boulder Valley School District, we’re deliberate in our focus on equity and supporting those furthest from resources. If that’s who we are in our day to day work, that is also how we have to plan. We knew our strategic plan had to be steeped in equity so we used our first grant from SVP to hire Jamie Morgan to provide extensive DEI training to our Board of Directors and staff team. 

“Equity is part of every single day and the decisions we make from top to bottom in our organization.” – Allison Billings, Executive Director of Impact on Education

Our strategic priorities were then created during a strategic planning session with SVP Partner Mark Bouzek. The year to year work will grow and change, but at the core our work is about empowering students and educators, engaging with our community, and evolving as an organization and a school district.

This work now guides every strategic planning and goal setting conversation in our organization. 

Program Evolution

Over the past three years we’ve seen remarkable growth in our programs, evolving small-scale initiatives into more extensive, impactful projects. We expanded our early childhood education program to reach more students, more cities, and to offer them full-day learning opportunities to prepare for school. And our focus on college and career readiness evolved to meet changing educational and professional landscapes. 

BVSD now has a Grad Plus framework that ensures every single student will graduate with more than a diploma. They’ll either have a seal of biliteracy, some college credit, an industry certification, or some work based learning experience – or a combination of those. We’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes to support this program and now we’re working to find and remove barriers to these opportunities for students, including textbook and test fees.

We’re also now in the third year of our Career Readiness Academy, helping high school students prepare for their futures. And this is where we’re leveraging expertise in the community to teach students how to interview, how to build a resume, and how to identify their interests and their passions.

When we started working with SVP, mental health wasn’t something we were focused on. But we quickly found ourselves navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing youth mental health crisis. Our community then suffered a mass shooting and the most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history. Students are struggling and mental health is something we’ve embraced and made tremendous investments in. This year we invested nearly $1.5M in mental health to ensure students have access to help and resources. 

Fundraising and Marketing

In 2021, SVP partner Shawna Peterson conducted a fundraising audit for us that was incredibly helpful. It taught us what we were doing well and where we needed to grow and improve.

Through our growth and resilience alongside unforeseen crises, we’ve retained existing supporters and gained new ones. Our communications are transparent and effective, and by sticking with us our supporters have shown us that they trust us and know how to make the most impactful investments. BVSD leaders and our schools know that Impact on Education is a partner they can rely on today and in the future. That’s the secret of our success.

A valuable experience 

Impact on Education experienced unprecedented growth and change over the last few years—our annual investment in BVSD students has nearly tripled —and we’re grateful to have had the guidance of Social Venture Partners along the way. From unforeseen challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Marshall Fire, to planned expansions of our early childhood education and college and career readiness programs, SVP’s support helped us stay focused on what we do best: ensuring students have the resources they need, when they need them.

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

How BVSD Wellness Centers support student resilience

A safe space to spend your off-period, a refuge during an anxiety attack, a place to connect with your friends – these are just a few of the reasons students are visiting Wellness Centers across Boulder Valley School District.

BVSD created its first Wellness Center at Monarch High School in response to the Marshall Fire. When we saw the impact the Wellness Center had on their school community we committed to opening five more and sustaining the one at Monarch. Impact on Education funding is now supporting six high school Wellness Centers at Boulder High, Centaurus High, Fairview High, Monarch High, Nederland Middle-Senior and New Vista High.

One month into the school year, over 1,000 students have made over 2,320 visits to BVSD Wellness Centers to relax, refocus and seek support.

In 2021, 42 percent of high school students reported feeling so sad or hopeless regularly for at least a two-week period that they stopped doing their normal daily activities.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What is a Wellness Center?

The Wellness Centers are welcoming and calming spaces with soft lighting and relaxing music. They are filled with flexible, comfortable seating and sensory activities like fidget toys, puzzles and kinetic sand. Each Wellness Center also offers free tea for students, courtesy of The Tea Spot

But the most important part of each Wellness Center is the mental health professional, a Mental Health Advocate, there to support each student who walks through the door.

One Mental Health Advocate described their Wellness Center as “a cozy cafe,” while students shared that they like “the vibe” and having a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of their school.

“Students have shared that it feels special to them. They are torn between telling everyone how awesome it feels to relax in the room and wanting to keep it a secret.”

– Mental Health Advocate, BVSD Wellness Center

The goal of the Wellness Centers is to provide students with accessible, safe spaces on school campuses that offer mental health support and promote social-emotional wellness. Students are able to visit the Wellness Center anytime during the school day to rest and recharge, connect with their peers, or talk with a trusted mental health professional.

How Wellness Centers are impacting school communities

The Mental Health Advocates leading BVSD Wellness Centers say they’ve been surprised and excited by students’ willingness to share and open up when they are in a crisis. One was also surprised by the reactions of their school staff, sharing that “so many teachers have reached out to tell me they appreciate having a safe place to send students instead of them going home or disappearing to the bathroom.”

We asked the Mental Health Advocates why students have been visiting and it was commonly to:

And often, while a student may start visiting for one reason, they continue going for another. One student who started visiting because it was a safe place to spend her off period, was eventually comfortable opening up about a difficult personal experience she was going through.

Students need support to manage their emotional health. The Mental Health Advocates can help teach them how, while the Wellness Centers give them the space to do so.

“We’re funding these Wellness Centers across Boulder Valley School District because we believe they’re powerful tools for supporting our youth and helping them thrive.”

– Allison Billings, Executive Director of Impact on Education

Reducing the stigma of mental health

So far this school year thousands of students have already visited BVSD Wellness Centers and schools will continue to build awareness of these new spaces in their school communities. The next step for Impact on Education is to supplement the Wellness Centers with meaningful opportunities for parents to engage and gain tools and resources to support their students at home.

BVSD is also creating “a continuum of services” for all students and has a robust offering of mental health resources available to BVSD students and their families.

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Celebrating 40 Years of Impact

We can’t get Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” out of our heads! Last week’s gala was an incredible way to commemorate our 40th Anniversary and engage the community in support of public education.

From the game show and remarks from Governor Polis to our wonderful speakers and the 5280s Band, the evening reminded us how important – and fun! – it is to celebrate success. 

Together we raised over $400,000 to continue engaging students and empowering educators across the Boulder Valley School District.

Click here to view more photos from the event.

OUR PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Were you unable to attend? Watch this new video to learn a little more about how Impact on Education came to be and where we’re headed.

We’re grateful to have a strong community behind us. It’s because of you that we’re able to help BVSD students receive an excellent and equitable education. We all shine brighter together.

Thank you for being part of our work!

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Teaching professional skills and inspiring confidence in high school students

As a high school student, you were probably starting to think about your future. Maybe you had some ideas about what you wanted to do, but didn’t know where to start. That’s exactly what our Career Readiness Academy teaches BVSD high school students – where to get started.

What is the Career Readiness Academy?

Through a series of after-school workshops, students learn how to identify and explore their interests and strengths, where to look for jobs and opportunities, how to fill out and submit applications, how to write a resume, and how to introduce and present oneself at an interview.

The workshops are delivered in partnership with industry and community professionals who know firsthand how the application of these skills leads to success.

We asked this year’s students how they would describe the program to a friend:

“It helps students who don’t have help or resources and provides people with opportunities.”

“It is a program that will help you learn more about resumes, interviews, and internships that will ease your anxiety about the world.“

“It’s a great program that helps those who don’t have much help in learning about things like college and interviews.”

“A program that teaches you how to be professional but also inspires you to have confidence when applying for a job.“

“It helps those who don’t have the resources and provides people with opportunities.”

Who can participate in the Career Readiness Academy?

The Career Readiness Academy targets 10th and 11th grade students with an openness to learn, explore and share, prioritizing those whose families are facing financial challenges. This year’s program enrolled 60 students at three schools – Centaurus High School, New Vista High School and Boulder High School – 70% of whom qualify for Free and Reduced Price Meals.

Student learning and growth

We survey students at the beginning and end of the program to assess their knowledge of and experiences with the program content. At the end of this year’s program:

“I was reminded that every person was once a young kid looking and striving to better themselves and their lives.”

Mock Interview Volunteer, 2022-23 Career Readiness Academy

Next year’s Academy

As we look ahead to our third Career Readiness Academy cohort, we continue to improve the content and structure of the program to ensure students are receiving the best possible experience.

Next year’s Academy content will expand to include writing cover letters and practicing networking, while also offering support and tips for accessing BVSD’s Grad Plus opportunities, such as work-based learning experiences and earning college credits during high school.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Behind the Scenes at the 2023 Impact Awards

Yesterday we held our 30th Annual Impact Awards celebration! This event honors an educator from each school in the Boulder Valley School District, and awards both an early career educator and longtime educator with individual awards.

The energy of our dedicated educators was incredible and the evening was a great success! We were honored to have the event emceed by Dr. Lora de la Cruz, Deputy Superintendent of BVSD, with special remarks by Dr. Rob Anderson, BVSD Superintendent.

This event was generously sponsored by BVEA, Premier Members Credit Union, Google, Corden Pharma, The Daily Camera and Lionsgate Event Center.

Browse some event photos or keep reading to hear about the evening.

56 School Honorees

Since 1993, the Impact Awards has recognized hundreds of educators – teachers, custodians, office managers, food service employees, crossing guards, and more – from each school across BVSD. Each school across the district selects an honoree for the event, someone who is going above and beyond and making an extraordinary impact on student learning.

Each honoree received an engraved award, a personalized poster and a $100 check (thank you sponsors!). You can meet all of this year’s honorees in the graphics below.

Early Educator Award

The 2023 Imogene Maxon Early Educator Award was presented to Sue Crowley, a fourth grade teacher at Alicia Sanchez Elementary.

Sue elevates each of her students to be more, achieve more, believe more, and do more than they previously thought possible.

Her nominator shared that, “in her first year of teaching, Sue already embodies the gold standard as an educator. While her 4th grade has a demographic and student population of varying backgrounds, opportunities, and advantages, Sue is exemplary at weaving in both academic instruction and social and emotional development.”

2023 Imogene Maxon Early Educator Award winner Sue Crowley and Dr. James Hill, BVSD

This award is financially supported by a legacy gift from Imogene Maxon.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The 2023 Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award winner was Glen Einrem, a special education paraeducator at Monarch High School.

Glen is skilled at providing strong boundaries with students while also developing a loving and supportive relationship that they can rely on throughout high school and beyond. He demonstrates the heart of teaching every day.

As a paraprofessional of over 25 years, Glen has made a lasting and significant impact on the classroom, and a positive difference in the lives of hundreds of students. Glen has a gifted and profound way of interacting with and motivating students with emotional or behavioral differences. Education was not Glen’s first career. It was actually his third. Learn more >>

2023 Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award winner Glen Einrem.

This award is financially supported and selected by the Peterson family.

The importance of educator appreciation

When we use the word educator, we’re referring to classroom teachers, school employees, paraeducators, parent volunteers — anyone whose work engages and enriches the lives of our students. Recognizing these impactful individuals matters as it supports, validates, and encourages our educators to continue doing what they do best. It can also strengthen their commitment and the overall culture of their school. 

While we’re only able to recognize a small number of BVSD educators at the Impact Awards, we celebrate the hard work and dedication of each educator across BVSD throughout the year.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Monarch paraeducator Glen Einrem received 2023 Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award

Time in the restaurant industry taught Glen patience, communication crucial to his job

By Shay Castle

Education was not Glen Einrem’s first career. It was actually his third. 

Prior to joining Boulder Valley School District, Einrem worked as a structural engineer. Before that, he spent 18 years in the restaurant industry, doing everything from washing dishes to managing a regional team. 

That time working in restaurants is the most valuable when it comes to his work as one of Monarch High School’s special education paraprofessionals, Einrem said.

“A lot of that translates into what we do at school: face to face interactions dealing with upset people, learning how to talk to them, learning to let things roll off your shoulder,” he said. “You see everything and you’re dealing with everything.”

Dealing with dozens of frustrated customers, Einrem learned that, “they’re not attacking you for being you; they were being angry at the situation. Once you realize that, it kind of frees you to just be there, not take it personally, not have too many ups and downs and be a steady ship going through.”

That grace under pressure has earned Einrem a reputation as a calm, caring presence in the classroom.

He “makes a difference by being kind,” student Isaac C. wrote in support of Einrem’s nomination for this year’s Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award.

“He stops us from being disruptive without seeming mean,” wrote Zoe D.

His students also love the way he connects with them on their level. As Viktor G. put it: “Glen is amazing because he just talks ‘Student.’”

“He breaks down things in a way that I can understand” them, wrote Cole B. 

“Glen carried me through this class,” added Libby B.

Einrem credits his “wide variety of interests” with being able to talk to students “on their level.” 

“I do a lot of gaming with my son; I can talk games to them,” he said. “If they want to talk history and engineering and science, I’m a big buff on all of those. I think my speciality is actually conversation and talking and making kids feel comfortable with themselves.”

That vast knowledge base has also earned him a reputation among his peers. 

“We jokingly refer to Glen at work as ‘Glengle’ — our version of Google,” wrote colleague Ally Hall, in her nomination letter.

For Einrem, his favorite part about the job goes beyond connection and communication and knowledge sharing. It’s helping a child understand that there is a wider world out there.

“So much of high school is in the moment. And everything is OMG,” he said. “But if you can get to them and say, ‘Look, people have gone through this hundreds of times, and you can get through it, and things do get better.”

“That’s the most rewarding thing for me: seeing they can go on and do things and be successful.”

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

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