Vestavia Hills Living

2018

Official magazine published by the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce for the City of Vestavia Hills which details the quality of life, education, shopping and lifestyle of Vestavia Hills.

Issue link: https://vhliving.epubxp.com/i/1038545

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" The atmosphere here is close-knit because of the school's size but also because of the personable nature of the people I work with. This smaller size allows us as teachers to better adapt to students' individual needs. " C H A S E T R A U T W E I N G E R M A N T E A C H E R (Left to Right) Liberty Park Middle School teachers Nicole Slowik, Mitch Cleveland, Courtney Capocci, Chase Trautwein 32 v e s tav i a h i l l s l i v i n g 2 0 1 8 L I B E R T Y P A R K M I D D L E S C H O O L With less than 450 students in grades six through eight, Liberty Park Middle is one of Vestavia Hills' smallest schools. But with a smaller size, the school is able to provide a more personal approach for its students—and highly qualified teachers who are dedicated to the school and the system ensure that students gain a cutting-edge education. "Working in a small school gives me the advantage of getting to know my colleagues and students better than in a larger school," says Chase Trautwein, Liberty Park Middle's first German teacher. "The atmosphere here is close-knit because of the school's size but also because of the personable nature of the people I work with. This smaller size allows us as teachers to better adapt to students' individual needs." After graduating from Samford University, Trautwein spent a year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Germany. He began teaching German at LPMS in Fall 2017. After completing his first successful year, Trautwein says he's been recruiting and advertising for next year, hoping more students will sign up for the foreign language elective. "Everyone at LPMS has been approachable and friendly, from administrators to custodians to office staff to cafeteria workers to other teachers," Trautwein says. "I'm grateful to be working at this school where I hope to introduce students to another language and cultures that are different from their own." Another teacher in her first year at LPMS, Nicole Slowik, teaches sixth grade earth and space science and co-sponsors the Robotics Lancer Opportunity. Slowik, whose family moved to Vestavia Hills in 2016, studied both education and environmental engineering at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), and she worked as an environmental engineer before she began teaching. "I love to design lessons that are as similar as possible to the real world by emphasizing the importance of collaboration and communication," she says. At a small school like LPMS, teachers make a difference by collaborating to meet student needs and interests, Slowik says. "Our science department works hard to coordinate special events, such as an August event for the solar eclipse and a weather balloon launch in the spring," she says. "We also bring in guest speakers from both near and far, such as a videoconference with an MIT water resources scientist, hosting an astronomy night and going on a field trip to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center."

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