We are delighted to announce that Loret Peterson, a fourth and fifth grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary in San Francisco, is our September Teacher of the Month. Ms. Peterson’s dedication to dynamic, in-depth projects for her split class has all of us at 826 Valencia in awe.
Since 1999, Ms. Peterson has created a close-knit community within her classroom through social exercises and long term projects. These projects include research, writing, and artwork and result in student preparedness for middle school–level work. By the end of the year, her students feel “very comfortable with such projects” as one parent said. Ms. Peterson creates lesson plans for her students that bring the subject matter to life. While covering the westward movement, the students are grouped into families and incorporate the historical context of the movement into all subjects: language arts, mathematics, science, and even performing arts.
Not only is her enthusiasm evident within the classroom, but Ms. Peterson’s class spends a great deal of time furthering their learning by going on field trips all over San Francisco. She inspires an interest in culture by bringing her students to events at the San Francisco Ballet, the San Francisco Symphony, and several museums. Her “Poetry in the Gallery” trip involves her students going to the de Young Museum, learning about the African art in the museum’s collection, and then writing poems inspired by the work. It’s these interactive and creative lesson plans that keep Ms. Peterson’s fourth and fifth grade students engaged and interested in learning the material. Ms. Peterson brings the material out of the textbooks and into real life.
She has also shown great dedication to the Jefferson Garden Committee, a nine-year project that aims to transform the asphalt yards into a “creative outdoor space.” Ms. Peterson has been at the forefront of the committee since its formation. This ongoing project has built herb and native plant gardens, and soon will include an outdoor classroom complete with running water. Her seemingly endless energy for all of these projects has earned the admiration of students and parents alike.
The students at Jefferson Elementary are fortunate to have such a dedicated, creative, and enthusiastic teacher, role model, and mentor. Congratulations again, Ms. Peterson, and keep up the great work!