Six little heads bent over a large, bright orange box in Christina Miskovsky’s third-grade classroom at Woodlawn Elementary School.
“Look at this!” cried one of the students, holding up a package of erasers shaped like items on a fast food restaurant menu.
“Sticky notes!” shouted another, holding up a cellophane-wrapped package of yellow paper squares.
“This is so pretty,” Vidya Udairam said, passing her teacher a purple notebook.
“Do you want this one?” Miskovsky asked her, handing it back.
Vidya answered with a big smile and a nod.
It was Tuesday morning, around 10 o’clock, and the children were supposed to be working on math, but that plan went right out the window when three OfficeMax employees showed up at the classroom with two large, orange boxes full of school supplies, a new office chair and a bouquet of flowers.
Miskovsky was informed, much to her surprise, that she was the recipient of OfficeMax’s “A Day Made Better” award, and along with it, approximately $1,000 worth of school supplies — some for her classroom, others for the rest of the school.
Teachers are nominated annually for the award based on their passion for teaching, innovation in the classroom, dedication to the profession and the success of their students.
Woodlawn Principal Joseph DiCaprio and teaching and learning coach Marie Culihan nominated Miskovsky.
The third-grade teacher, who has been on staff at Woodlawn for 23 years, was at the top of DiCaprio’s list because of the high expectations she sets for her students.
“It rises to an extraordinary level day-in and day-out,” he said. “She does it in a very unassuming manner and when this opportunity presented itself, she was the first person that came to mind.”
Culihan said Miskovsky goes above and beyond the call of duty for her students.
“She’s there before school, after school; she keeps them in at lunchtime if they need extra help. I just think she’s one of the best teachers that we have in this building,” she explained.
Included with the school supplies earmarked for Miskovsky’s classroom was a Kindle Fire and a digital camera.
Miskovsky said it will all come in handy.
“I do find that the families, too, are very generous in this district and whatever kids can’t bring in to school, the [Parent-Teacher Organization] or myself will provide it for them,” she noted.
Her students came up with a bunch of reasons Miskovsky was the perfect candidate for the “A Day Made Better” award.
“She’s smart, she’s helpful, she does a lot of good things for us,” said James DeWitt.
Jessica Jenkins chimed in, “She’s smart, she’s pretty and she’s nice.”
The “A Day Made Better” award aims to help end the need for teacher-funded classrooms. One thousand teachers receive it annually.
This is the seventh year in a row that the award has been presented to a teacher in the Capital Region, according to Tina Caza, a team leader from the Rotterdam OfficeMax store.