A Connecticut high school teacher is recognized for her “outstanding and innovative” work in the classroom.
Rachael Chatel, a teacher at the High Road School of Hartford, has been named the first female teacher of the year by Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI).
The private school works with special education students ages 15-21 who face social, emotional, and behavioral challenges that can hinder success in a traditional classroom setting.
Nationally, SESI works with more than 7,000 students in more than 600 school districts.
Chatel won the highest honor for “exceeding expectations for its students and working to meaningfully engage families to support each child’s development,” said Jeff Cohen, CEO of SESI’s parent company, FullBloom.
Since joining the school in 2020, Chatel has developed a reputation as someone who collaborates with fellow teachers, families and district partners to ensure students receive the support they need to succeed both inside and outside the classroom, according to SESI.
She recently co-developed an app called Fun Banking that teaches students how to manage money and a checking account. Chatel said it has been a hit with students, who enjoy the sense of independence that comes from not having to wait for adult help.
“My philosophy of learning and education stems from my own personal experiences and background in psychology, that a student is not ready to learn until they feel safe and included,” said Châtel.
She called her Teacher of the Year award an incredible honor.
“I love being creative, using technology, and personalizing whatever I can to make all of my students feel valued and included,” Chatel said.
“Teaching is my life’s passion and this award helps me recognize how much my work is valued by my colleagues at Hartford High Road School and Specialized Education Services, Inc.”
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