On December 17, at ceremonies in Boston, the state universities of Massachusetts recognized eight of the commonwealth’s outstanding K-12 educators, each of whom graduated from the system’s teacher preparation programs. Lynn resident Richard Giso, a first- and second-grade teacher at Salem’s Carlton Innovation Elementary School, was chosen for recognition by Salem State based on his accomplishments as a teacher and for serving as a role model to his students in the area of service to the community. Giso, in addition to his role as a public school teacher, is an adjunct instructor and elementary seminar leader at the university and assistant coordinator of the Salem State University-Salem Public Schools Collaborative Summer Program for English language learning students.
The professional educators who were honored received awards for their teaching excellence, especially in the face of challenging situations, and for their contributions to the communities in which they live and work. Ceremony attendees included representatives from state university campuses and education leaders in the Patrick administration, as well as members of the Massachusetts House and Senate.
“Rich Giso,” noted Salem State University president Patricia Maguire Meservey, “is a perfect example of the extraordinary teachers that Salem State and our sister institutions in the commonwealth are graduating and returning to our communities each year.” Rich Giso and others just like him are the special teachers we all remember: Teachers who are adept at helping all students learn, and who care deeply about the education, well-being and futures of our children. They are the memorable teachers that today’s young people—many years hence—will recall as having made a difference in their lives.”
Giso holds a master’s degree in reading from Salem State and has served as a fourth-grade teacher, a reading specialist and a coach. In his current position at the Carlton School in Salem, he shares his knowledge and skill in literacy education with the very young at the start of their school careers. A caring, creative and standards-focused teacher and coach, he has designed learning activities using multiple intelligences—incorporating science and engineering, along with history and social science—into literacy curricula; used data to help teachers make decisions about intervention and assessment; and implemented a peer mentoring program for new teachers.
Additionally, Giso serves his alma mater as a valued member of its professional education community, leading its graduate elementary practicum seminar, teaching undergraduate courses in literacy and elementary education and serving as assistant coordinator of the university’s summer program for English language learners in Salem.
Almost two centuries ago, Massachusetts became the first to recognize the importance of teacher preparation programs by the establishing the first three schools dedicated to educating teachers. Today, these institutions have grown to become comprehensive state universities educating students in multiple disciplines beyond education. Massachusetts’ state universities continue to educate more than one-third of all public educators in Massachusetts.
Photo: At the recent ceremony in Boston, award winner Richard Giso is flanked by Cleti Cervoni, interim associate dean of the School of Education at Salem State University (left) and Mary-Lou Breitborde, professor in the School of Education.
...Bentley students are not the only beneficiaries of the program. Their teachers are also learning new ways to teach, assess and channel their pupils’ learning. Assisted by coordinator and Salem State education instructor Cami Condie and assistant coordinator Richard Giso, who coach teachers on how to assess children’s needs and how to use guided reading, poetry and Readers’ Theatre, they are learning to help the children become fluent readers and writers.
-Dr. Breitborde, Salem State University, 2012
Salem —Richard Giso, a fourth-grade teacher at Salem's Bates Elementary School, was the winner of this year's Tradition of Excellence Award at the Phi Kappa Phi initiation ceremony at Salem State College.
Bates Principal Thomas R. LaValley nominated Giso for the award and wrote, 'He is an excellent teacher; one of the best at the school. His classroom is very visual. He makes a lot of his own things.
'He has high expectations for his children, but plans his lessons so that they are able to meet the challenge in a fun way. He makes his lessons interesting and exciting, and easily captures the children's attention.'
Giso's 24 fourth-graders are learning to become outstanding readers.
'Literacy is the core of all elementary education programs,' said Giso, who develops his lesson plans according to this belief.
'His lessons are very well planned,' said LeValley. 'The content, means of evaluation and assessment are all relevant. He puts so much effort into planning his lessons. They're top-notch.'
Some of Giso's students have said he is a 'fun teacher' ... 'we do a lot of special projects that help us learn about each other' ... 'he lets us pick our own level of books.'
'Teachers need to identify vast levels of learning capabilities in children. It's rewarding to reflect on each student's growth throughout the year,' said Giso. 'It's important to stop and take time to realize just how far each student has come.'
Phi Kappa Phi comprises the three initial letters of the Greek words, 'Philosophia krateito photon,' meaning 'May the love of learning rule humankind.'
-Salem, Massachusetts - Salem Gazette, 2006