DSST: Katherine Hendrickson

January 2, 2012
Name: Katherine Hendrickson
Position: Spanish 2 and 3
School: Denver School of Science and Technology

Each staff member at the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) Stapleton campus is an essential part of the school’s community, and the teachers do an outstanding job on a consistent basis preparing students for college. Katherine Hendrickson teaches both Spanish two and three to students from both Prep Academy (9th and 10th grade) and Senior Academy (11th and 12th grade). It’s clear that it’s her second year teaching at DSST because of how seemingly effortlessly she tackles the rigor of this school every day. She can always be counted on to bring up the mood of her students whether it’s during Morning Meeting, a class period, or an outside of class tutoring session. Ms. Hendrickson’s ability to maintain a balance between friend and teacher is incredible and makes for a teacher who is approachable as well as a role model for students simultaneously. Her enthusiasm for teaching Spanish is contagious and combined with the humor she always brings to class, makes learning truly enjoyable. Even though Spanish is one class I have historically always dreaded, this year I’ve found that it is a lot more pleasant.
It’s interesting how great of a difference a teacher can make in your success in a particular class. Ms. Hendrickson always makes class very engaging and you never know when she’s going to say something funny that reiterates a concept or new vocabulary term that we are discussing. She often has a funny story to share with us, such as the time when she was studying abroad in Argentina and her host family would always say, “No me digas!” meaning “you don’t say!”, and her confusion with the literal translation versus it being a commonly used expression at the time. She makes a daily effort to keep us excited about learning Spanish, and even when she knows we aren’t, her enthusiasm and positive energy makes up for our lack of motivation, while encouraging us to excel in class.
Outside of the day to day class interactions, Ms. Hendrickson consistently lives out the six core values of DSST (Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Curiosity, Courage, and Doing Your Best). She is a constant force in Morning Meeting trying to help whoever is leading it, whether it’s a student or the dean, making sure everyone is quiet and tracking (giving their attention to whoever is talking). In addition, she’s always willing to volunteer to be part of the games/competitions in Morning Meeting, which is essentially volunteering to do something random and embarrassing in front of the entire Senior Academy, something only a handful of the staff are continually participating in. This sets her apart from other teachers in that she’s both an excellent teacher but also a strong member of the DSST community. I often see students she’s had previously, come up to her in the hallway and start up a conversation with her about a college they’ve been accepted to or a high test grade they’re excited about, as if they still have her as a teacher, showing the lasting impact that she has on her students. She’s always willing to schedule a time to talk about concerns students may have, and work with them to ensure they’re getting the most out of class. Ms. Hendrickson puts in an exceptional amount of effort towards ensuring that she teaches students to the best of her ability and that her lessons are engaging and truly fun even when the subject of Spanish might not be as interesting to students as it is to her. Her relentless effort and passion for teaching Spanish, as well as her ability to balance being a friend to students with her role as a teacher simultaneously, signifies someone who deserves to be recognized by others.

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