Tanglewood Elementary School, Fort Worth ISD
Education: Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education, TCU
Experience: Six years, including five at Tanglewood
Stephanie Plotner still vividly remembers one of her first teaching experiences at a central city elementary school in Fort Worth.
“They had no shoes, no lunch, no nothing,” she says. With the principal’s permission, “I had one girl who came and spent the weekend with us so she could pass her STAAR test. Get sleep, a meal. She passed that STAAR test.”
Plotner subsequently moved to Tanglewood Elementary, where the problems are fewer. But managing in the public school realm is still challenging.
“The most challenging thing today is probably the pressure of the expectations that are sometimes set by people who haven’t been in a classroom in ages,” she said.
At Tanglewood, Plotner set up an online venue through ClassDojo that allows parents to check in on how their students are performing. Plotner also sends home weekly emails to students’ parents. She has a rabbit in her classroom that students take turns taking home for the weekend. “Stephanie is awesome with the kids,” Sally Alband, a parent, wrote in a nomination letter.
Plotner has simple advice for parents on how to help their children: “Read, read, read with them, 15-20 minutes a night. If every parent would do that, you’d be amazed at how many kids would come in with a better vocabulary, a better understanding of everything. You read to them until they’re reading to you, and when they’re reading to you, you sit and listen.”
When Plotner is off the clock, she says, “I’m with my husband and my children. We love to travel and watch football. Go Frogs. I love to spend time with friends.”