This is a guest post by Johnathan Abreu of the Library of Congress.
Every nation has its ambassadors to the rest of the world. The Library of Congress now bids farewell to its own rock star ambassador to the K-12 education community: our 2010-2011 Teacher in Residence, Sara Suiter. Sara came to the Library in 2010 from Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., where she taught a third grade English-Spanish immersion class.
The year-long Teacher-in-Residence position provides a K-12 educator the opportunity to enhance and develop educational programs. Each Teacher in Residence brings a unique focus and fresh classroom experience using the Library’s primary sources.
Reflecting on her experience this year, Sara said “One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most is working in a collaborative environment where my ideas, opinions, and experiences as a teacher were valued.”
Sara’s background as a third grade teacher provided Library staff with many keen insights about creating materials for K-3 students and educators. She contributed to the development of a number of primary source sets featured on the Teachers Page section of the Library’s Web site, including “Symbols of the United States” and “Children’s Lives at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” which were designed to be used by teachers with younger students.
When the Library began planning the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog, Sara served as a crucial member of the development team. “Sara played a key role in the planning and successful launch of Teaching with the Library of Congress,” said the Library’s Stephen Wesson. “Her insights and experience informed every aspect of the project, from its initial goals and structure to its first batch posts. The blog would not be the success it is without Sara’s contributions.”
She proved to be invaluable as a co-coordinator of the LOC Box program for local 4th-6th grade students visiting the Library’s historic Thomas Jefferson building, and helped coordinate a session for the families of incoming members of Congress in January. The program continues to grow in popularity.
Sara commented further that her work at the Library gave her “the opportunity to see the Library’s mission—to make its resources available to the public—in action.”
Serving on the “brain trust” behind the 2011 Summer Teacher Institutes, Sara helped to plan each of the seven five-day sessions and served as a facilitator for many of the teacher groups that came to Washington, D.C., for training and professional development based on the Library’s primary sources.
At the end of her tenure, in August, Sara will begin a MLS degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Please join us in wishing her the best of luck after an excellent tenure at the Library of Congress.
Watch this space for the announcement of the Library’s 2011-2012 Teacher in Residence.