Teammate Feature: Golden Apple Finalist Melissa Behrendt of LEARN 6 (March 2024)

LEARN supports our team throughout their career progression, regardless of where they start with us. This month, we are shining a light on Melissa Behrendt, a 3rd grade teacher at LEARN 6 Charter School and a finalist for the statewide Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award, which honors teachers who have had “lasting, positive effects on students’ lives and school communities.” Ms. Behrendt recently spoke about her nine years with LEARN and some of the professional support she has received throughout her career.  

How would you describe your approach to teaching and connecting with LEARN scholars?
I focus on creating a positive, calm classroom space where my scholars feel valued, respected, and willing to make mistakes. I prioritize developing social-emotional skills and consistent routines to set a strong foundation for academic learning. I stay connected with former students through an after-school yoga program which gives us space to connect through movement and mindfulness practices.  

Can you share some of the ways LEARN has supported your professional development throughout the years?  

LEARN has contributed to my growth as an educator by supporting my ability to work with diverse student populations through the sponsorship of my teaching endorsements in ESL and special education.

What is your favorite part about teaching at LEARN?  

I love that LEARN allows me to work with students from diverse backgrounds, and I value our shared mission of high academic expectations. It is so rewarding to witness former students obtaining scholarships and acceptance into high-performing, selective high schools after exiting LEARN. I also love working with my 3rd grade team, and I am grateful for all of the friendships I’ve made at LEARN over the years!  

The 2024 Golden Apple Award recipients will be announced later this spring. (Learn more about Melissa and the other finalists in the Lake County News-Sun or by visiting the Illinois Network of Charter Schools blog.)   

Please join me in wishing Ms. Behrendt good luck. 

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