Janet Bertrand: Taking Student Interest Inventory

educatorIf you want to keep up with Janet Bertrand of Dixie Elementary, you’d better be prepared to move fast. The third-grade teacher is a whirlwind of activity and innovation.

At Dixie, she has been the science curriculum specialist and the lead third-grade teacher. For four years, she has worked as a Kentucky Teacher Internship Program resource, mentoring first-year teachers. She also works with student teachers.

At the district level, she serves on Fayette County’s New Generation Science Standards committee and worked for two years on the language arts common core committee.

She still finds time in the evenings to work on principal certification, which she will complete next year.

Bertrand developed her prodigious work ethic watching her father run his trucking and warehouse business. Bertrand was groomed to join the company. She earned a business degree and worked for 10 years as an operations supervisor in the private sector before realizing her true calling as an educator, joining the Dixie staff in 2000.

She brings energy and joy to the classroom and prides herself on her ability to connect with each child. She conducts an interest inventory of each student at the start of the
year and crafts lessons that will incorporate student interests.

Realizing many of her boys were uninspired by traditional reading material, she introduced the “Who Would Win” series with titles such as “Who Would Win: Komodo Dragon
vs. King Cobra.”

“I’m really flexible and know that students need to get all their senses to learn best,” Bertrand said. That’s why she incorporates music, art and group work into her class. Her most popular innovation was starting a school garden run by her class.

“Kids love it and are so excited,” she said. “I love to give them new experiences and they feel responsible for something at school that they are a part of… Third graders are still so excited to learn and are very open to new ideas.”

The feeling is mutual, according to Mac Bailes, a fourth-grade teacher who was mentored by Bertrand. “She’s a motherly figure to these students and cares deeply for them,”
he said. “And she’s so upbeat. She always approaches every problem with a smile and communicates that to her students.”

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