By Sue Botos
Some of Michael Guscott’s first-graders had the right idea, but the wrong occasion, shouting out “Happy Birthday, Mr. Guscott!” when a group of people entered their Goldwood Primary School classroom bearing gifts.
While the new chair, plant and huge box of supplies weren’t part of a birthday celebration, Guscott and his class were treated to a surprise party by representatives of Rocky River’s OfficeMax store in honor of Guscott being picked for the “A Day Made Better” program.
Oct. 4 marked the sixth year for the recognition program, during which local OfficeMax associates award 1,000 teachers nationwide in their classrooms with $1,000 worth of school supplies, for a total of $1 million. Teachers also receive a $150 gift card to OfficeMax and a certificate of recognition.
Goldwood Principal Carol Rosiak commented, “I nominated Mr. Guscott for many reasons. He differentiates his instruction to reach the needs of all his students. He is calm and remains professional at all times. He is a team player who shares ideas with his grade-level teammates as well as the (Goldwood) staff. His use of technology in the classroom is used as an accelerator for learning. He genuinely cares about each child and communicates well with parents.”
Parent Kristen Duke, whose daughter was one of the first-graders taking part in the celebration, agreed. “In only five weeks of school, it has become very clear that Mr. Guscott is both amusing and amused, hard-working, encouraging, caring and he clearly goes above and beyond. He is teaching the kids sign language; come on, that is amazing!” she noted.
Some of the items in the “goodie box,” which the students were more than happy to help Guscott open, included notebooks, pens, folders, sticky notes, a laminator, a memory card and flash drive, erasers, paper clips and a new camera.
A Day Made Better came about as a response to the fact that due to shrinking state funding for education, teachers often spend their own money on classroom supplies. In partnership with Adopt-A-Classroom, a national nonprofit dedicated to teacher support and access by all children to quality education, the program aims to help end the need for teachers to reach into their pockets, at an estimated cost of $1,000 annually, to purchase classroom materials.
But the celebration at Goldwood did not end with the surprise. More donations from the community, which were collected in a bin at the Rocky River OfficeMax over the past few weeks, were brought in throughout the day.
Residents and others who wish to contribute to Goldwood can do so through the end of October. When making a purchase at the Rocky River OfficeMax, a customer can donate any amount to Adopt-A-Classroom. All proceeds will go directly to an individual school account. Guscott’s mention on the national A Day Made Better website can be viewed at www.adaymadebetter.com/days-made-better/teacher/2012/108/michael-guscott.