Gilpin Elementary teachers ready to try new adventures
By Esmee Halsted
With Gilpin school year 2019-2020 officially over, teachers are making future plans. While many teachers are staying at Gilpin schools, Monica Rhul and Chloe Devore are unfortunately leaving. Both elementary teachers, Rhul taught Montessori 1st-3rd grades and Devore taught 1st grade. Rhul started working at Gilpin as a full-time teacher in August of 2015. Devore began working August of 2019.
Monica Rhul has been invested in her students since she first started teaching. She has plenty of experience working with the Montessori community. In fact, while she has many fond memories, her favorite was Curriculum Night, a Montessori event. “I think one of my favorite memories is when we got all the Montessori classes together to make food and we invited parents to come to the classroom to watch their children do a few works and eat dinner. The preschool/ kindergartners made the veggie and fruit trays, lower elementary students made a variety of soups and upper, and upper elementary students made chili. Parents provided bread, crackers, cheese, desserts and salads. It was super fun.”
Yet another incredible Montessori experience was when Rhul took her students on a hike. She describes the hike as her funniest story from her time at Gilpin. “Our class hiked behind the school and some parents came too. There was quite a bit of water in the ditch which is usually dried up. We told the students to be careful and to not jump over the stream. I told them I did not want them jumping over so that they could keep our feet dry for the whole hike. On the way back to the school, a boy jumped over the stream even though we told students not to jump over the stream. When he did, he lost his footing and fell completely into the stream, so he was drenched from head to toe. Thank goodness he was fine, but it was so funny how he fell in, with his whole body. It was a good lesson for listening to the teacher.”
Since Rhul has worked at Gilpin, it has changed quite a bit. According to Rhul, “Teachers have changed – some left and new ones came in. We even got a new principal since I was there. We started doing PBIS to help students SOAR and I feel teachers started to collaborate more as a team.” SOAR is a positive behavior rewards program and PBIS, which stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support, focuses on encouraging positive behavioral strategies and prevention, not punishment.
Upon leaving Gilpin, Rhul is taking a more traditional path. “I have taught Montessori for 15 years. I am interested in seeing what it is like to work in a traditional classroom and use my skills to teach one grade at a time instead of three grades. Teaching three grades is very fun and keeps me very busy, but I would like to concentrate on one grade level at a time.”
Devore, first year teacher at Gilpin, has plenty of fond memories from her time. She recalls the SOAR events as her best memory. Students are given educational parties and class events for good behavior. Students can get individual awards and class awards. Generally speaking, she drew the most laughter from working with her age group, “trying to understand the minds of 6 year olds.” Devore’s biggest change she experienced was her “growing relationship with the families around me during COVID.” For her future plans, Devore plans on following the wind, seeing where life takes her.
Both teachers, although moving on to new things, are thankful for their time at Gilpin. Rhul explains how she is “very grateful that the staff, families, and students were so amazing, welcoming and helpful in making me feel part of a community.” Devore is grateful for the family atmosphere that Gilpin provided. As a goodbye she remarks, “Thank you to Heather Huntoon for taking a chance with me, Liz Hamilton for being the best mentor I could have, and thanks Elementary staff for your support and making me feel loved.”