Kindergarten teacher honored for ‘opening doors to education’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo courtesy of Batavia City School District – Michelle Restivo of Albion is pictured at the Jackson Primary School in Batavia. Last week she was picked as a “Teacher Who Opens Door to Education.”

BATAVIA – Michelle Restivo makes fun a priority in her classroom. But that doesn’t mean she skimps on learning.

Restivo of Albion teaches kindergarten at the Jackson Primary School in Batavia. She acknowledged she and other teachers feel pressure to keep the school day packed with instruction so students can score well on tests through the Common Core.

But that doesn’t mean Restivo will eliminate art, crafts and other projects. She said those activities are needed for students, especially those in the elementary grades.

And she incorporates lessons in those activities, having them draw the ocean and sailboats in a lesson about Christopher Columbus, for example.

“If they’re not having fun and looking forward to it, it won’t be meaningful learning,” Restivo said.

She was recognized last week by a Rochester radio station for winning the “Open the Door to Education” contest. She was interviewed on 100.5 The Drive. She will receive a new door for her home from DeRisio Construction.

Restivo was nominated for the award Kelseylynn Chechak, whose son Jacob was in Restivo’s class last year.

“I could not have dreamt of a better teacher,” Ms. Chechak wrote. “She encouraged the children, celebrated their successes, and made learning fun. Learning about different countries, the kids had passports, their chairs set up like airplane seats, and a paper suitcase to put all their research in. This is just one example of Mrs. Restivo’s amazing teaching methods. Although she is an amazing educator, the kids saw her mostly as a friend. Her love, patience, and friendship was shared with all of the kids.”

Restivo and her husband Jonathan have two children in the Albion school district: Shelby and Ben.