2010 Honoree Tamara GarfioMilken Family Foundation National Educator Award winner 2010.
Third Grade Teacher
Maywood Elementary School
Los Angeles Unified School District
Tamara Garfio conducts her third-grade class at Maywood Elementary by modeling the thinking process and using strategies to teach them to become independent problem-solvers. By requiring her students to read and discuss their work in class, she establishes the expectation that students must challenge themselves and others by providing evidence to support their thinking. Tamara’s students develop life-long learning strategies because they are made accountable for their own progress. With this rigorous preparation, it’s no surprise that this year 90 percent of students scored advanced or proficient on the California Standardized Tests in language arts and scored 85 percent or higher on district math assessments.
Tamara offers training classes for parents, such as her “Parent as Educators Workshop,” in which she introduces parents to grade-level standards so that they can understand what students need to know by the end of the year. Tamara holds individual conferences with students about the books they are reading, including a personal consultation about their book selection, reading tips and a self-assessment to evaluate their reading comprehension.
To increase literacy school wide, Tamara organized and coordinates an accelerated reader program for students in grades 2-5. Colleagues and administrators are frequent visitors in her classroom as they are eager to observe an exceptional learning environment where students are skillfully guided to achieve mastery of grade-level standards.