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Elise Koretz

Grade 2 Teacher, Grades PreK-4 Math Coordinator
Subject/Department:  Math
Elise Koretz
Education:  Duke University, B.S.; Lesley University, M.Ed.
ext:  6293

Education (elementary & high school) Conant School, R.J. Grey Junior High School, Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
Where did you grow up?
Acton, MA
Other roles at Brookwood
Girls varsity soccer coach, Teach a master’s degree course ‘Observation, Documentation and Assessment’
Faculty member since 2005
Why do you teach your respective age group?
 I love spending the day with children. Their energy and enthusiasm makes every day unique and interesting. I particularly love second graders because they have already mastered some basic skills and I get to help them go deeper with those skills. I love the moments when they have breakthrough moments and they begin to understand a concept that previously eluded them. They think about the world in such interesting, creative ways and I learn just as much from them (if not more!)
What is your favorite classroom lesson to teach? 
My favorite is our Cultural Heritage and Identity Unit-I love all of the lessons in the unit and the conversations it facilitates at home between students, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. It is so exciting when the student makes a discovery about an ancestor or his/her heritage and has a clearer sense of his/her roots. During this unit, we'll be sitting at lunch and the kids animatedly talk about their ancestral countries, getting so excited when they find other kids whose ancestors came from those same places. I also love our weekly grade level "chicken meeting" and the earnestness with which kids approach our chicken conversations. They really take their responsibilities as the chicken caretakers of the school quite seriously.
Is there something at Brookwood that makes you a better teacher?
I love having a division head who always encourages us to pursue our passions and attend professional development events that will help us take our teaching to the next level. I also love working with a grade level partner who is always open to change and new ideas.
Do you have a special memory from elementary school?
When I was third grade, one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Kostro, allowed me to be teacher for the day. I got to plan all the lessons and be in charge for the day. I also baked cookies for all my classmates. I didn't know it then, but I think that's when my path to teaching began.
Educational travel  
Since I started working at Brookwood, I have traveled to Peru, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, England and France. Two of those trips (Peru and Spain) were generously funded by faculty grants. I love the perspective that traveling gives me and the understanding of what it's like to be in a place where you don't know the language or the systems for everyday tasks like grocery shopping. It's so important to move outside of your comfort zone and have experiences that continually help you to grow. When we travel, my husband and I also love to use Airbnb so we can stay in actual neighborhoods and get a taste of what it would be like to live in a place, rather than just be a tourist. We love just walking around, talking to people we meet, admiring the architecture and finding hidden spots that aren't listed in guidebooks.
What do you love most about life at Brookwood?
I love that each day is different and I am continually growing and changing as an educator as a result. We have the freedom to change our curriculum in ways that reflect current best practices, our own changing interests, as well as the needs and interests of the learners in our classrooms during any given school year. There is such a strong sense of community and it very much feels like an extended family.