TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Jordan Smith Lange says every student ‘deserves a cheerleader’

Published 8:51 am Thursday, January 18, 2024

Jordan Smith Lange is a fourth-grade English Language Arts teacher at Bowmar Elementary. Lange is a finalist for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year award.

The Chamber will select and announce one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year at the Chamber Luncheon in February. The winner for each award will receive $1,000 from Ameristar Casino and the runner-up for each award will receive $500 from Mutual Credit Union.

Lange believes that building a strong community within her classroom helps everyone achieve more. She recently assigned her students a character study and grouped students by different ability levels. She used this assignment to show that all students can contribute to a group no matter their ability level.

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To connect her students to the world around them she uses reading passages and open-ended classroom discussions to further students’ understanding of the world around them.

When asked how she incorporates measures to improve student achievement, she responded that she feels that constant motivation and celebrations help improve student achievement.

“When students achieve their reading goal, we have a 30-second dance party to celebrate,” Lange explained “These students work so hard for those dance parties.”

These dance parties have raised AR scores immensely, Lange added.

Finally, when asked about her most moving educational experience, Lange said, “I had a student who had severe behavior problems at the beginning of the year. I was persistent in showing him that I loved him and cared about his outcome. At the end of the year, the behavioral and academic growth in this child meant more to me than anything.”

When asked why she teaches, Lange simply said, “Every child deserves a cheerleader.”