Vernon Teacher Wins Outstanding Teacher Award
Ms. Janet Link with Vernon School Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio and K-12 Social Studies Supervisor Mr. Joseph Pesqueira.
Ms. Janet Link, a fourth-grade teacher at James H. Vernon School in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District, was named 2018-19 Outstanding New York State Social Studies Elementary Classroom Teacher by the New York State Council for Social Studies. She received the honor at the Council’s annual lunch eon at the Albany Capital Center, March 8.
A teacher in the District for 14 years, Ms. Link was chosen for the award after being nominated by K-12 Social Studies Supervisor Mr. Joseph Pesqueira who described her as a teacher who not only goes the extra mile for her students, but runs a whole marathon.”
Her principal, Dr. Valerie Vacchio, agrees. “Ms. Link has an unparalleled commitment to teaching. Under her tutelage, Ms. Link has provided students with rigorous learning experiences that have fostered collaboration, integrated technology, nurtured critical and creative thinking skills, and provided authentic platforms for public speaking and effective modes of communication,”
Dr. Vacchio wrote in her recommendation letter.
Ms. Link is credited for being an early adopter of the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework and incorporating inquiry modifications to ensure that students delve deep into important social studies topics. As a fourth-grade team leader, she is known for trailblazing new learning strategies in the classroom and sharing them with her colleagues.
“Ms. Link has merged many different resources together to ensure the social studies inquiries she uses in class are both rigorous and relevant, while at the same time suitable for students of all levels and backgrounds,” Mr. Pesqueira stated in his nomination letter, noting that she is “willing and excited” to share these strategies.
“Teaching social studies using the inquiry method has really changed learning for students and it renews and refreshes me when I see students get excited about social studies in ways that I never did when I was a kid in school,” said Ms. Link “It motivates me to keep learning and being the best version of myself and to continue to be a champion for elementary social studies education.”
Also a leader in technology for instruction, Ms. Link piloted the District’s first 1:1 Chromebook initiative at the fourth-grade level two years ago, allowing students to use digital platforms to research and explore information for their inquiry-based social studies projects. She continues to be a District leader as the initiative expands.
Ms. Link is an active member of the Long Island Council for Social Studies and the New York State Council for Social Studies (NYSCSS) and has presented a workshop on “Tailoring the New York State Social Studies Inquiries for All Learners” at conferences for both organizations. She also serves on the NYSCSS Curriculum and Assessment Committee.