Enthusiastic Sacca finalist for Colorado Teacher of Year
Re-1 Public Information Officer
After more than 25 years as a teacher and 18 years at the same school, Karol Sacca is still a bundle of energy, enthusiasm and new ideas.
Her room at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale is a place where students can come to socialize, share and study, and where Sacca is ready with hugs and personalized reading recommendations. Her room is the library ” not the boring, quiet sort of years past ” but a media center of lively learning and student interaction.
Now in her third year as librarian, Sacca has built a variety of successful young adult reading clubs from scratch. More than half the students at the school are involved in the various extra reading activities. That’s just one of the reasons Sacca is one of four finalists for the 2004 Colorado Teacher of the Year contest presented by the state’s Department of Education.
“Karol Sacca exemplifies what is right with education. Her classroom is bigger than the norm, but so is Karol’s talent and impact,” RFHS Principal Wendy Moore said. “I cannot think of a better candidate.”
Sacca taught English, speech and drama through her years at Roaring Fork, and she uses those combined talents in the library. Her creative reading programs pair a less-than-enthusiastic student reader with a book-lover in the local community for e-mail discussions, or create a circle of 10 student readers. She helped the school start a daily 15-minute sustained silent reading time for everyone in the building.
Her “Book in a Bag” reading groups feature the twist of tearing out the final section of a book to spur conversation and a group reading of the ending. Some librarians might cringe at such tactics, but Sacca’s ideas are working. She currently shares her high school book club ideas with other schools in the state. She is a relentless reader of young adult literature and is always thinking of new ideas.
Sacca’s productive energy is flowing whether she’s buzzing around the school library or commuting to work while listening to books on tape. She said her enthusiasm comes from the students.
“If the kids catch the fever, you catch it back,” said Sacca, who earned a master’s degree in education from Colorado State University. “I am passionate about what I do. You get me going, and I’m going.”
Colleagues describe Sacca as tireless, dedicated, a mentor and a great facilitator. She was recognized as a 9 Teachers Who Cares winner in May 2002 and used that award money to buy new books for the library and to join the American Library Association.
“Our media center is truly the educational center of the school,” Moore commented. “Kids use this library to a depth that I have not seen in my 30 years in education. Because of Mrs. Sacca, the place teems with inquiry.”
The teacher of the year will be announced during a banquet Dec. 10 in Denver, and if she wins, Sacca said, “You’ll hear us yelling from Denver.”
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