Interdisciplinary Studies

IDS

Elementary Gifted Program

If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse. – Walt Disney



Dr. Mary Sandra Florek, Gifted Specialist

mflorek@cfsd16.org

Introduction

Our gifted program is one that we are very proud of because it challenges students to think critically, be very creative, and step out of the box when trying to find solutions to real life problems. The program is designed to build on what is taught in the regular education classroom and extend that knowledge to higher levels. Students can dream their dreams and try to make those dreams come to fruition. Problem-solving, exploring, challenging ideas, and hypothesizing are part of culture in IDS.

The classroom is designed to meet the very unique needs of all the students by having the students actively engaged in the learning process. The project-based learning environment provides the students with an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge acquisiton. Having access to the latest in technology adds to the excitement in the learning environment.

A little about the Teacher.....Dr. Mary S. Florek

Children have always been my passion in life! I was the oldest of six children and shouldered a lot of responsibility as a young child. All of that responsibility made me the person I am today. I have been blessed with two professions: nursing and teaching. My nursing career made me a much better educator. I worked in the newborn nursery and labor and delivery. My nursing career paid for my children's college educations.

Teaching and learning has been my passion. My teaching career was NEVER a job. I felt blessed loving something that I did everyday. My teaching career stated with me teaching elementary students in grades 3 to 8, gifted education, and graduate students at the university level. I have been an Elementary Principal, a Director of Curriculum and Instruction, a Director of Pupil Services, an Assistant Superintendent, and a Superintendent. I have loved each position I have held in education, but the position that means the most is to me and where you make the biggest difference is working in the classroom with wonderful children. I retired in June 2014 after being a superintendent for 19 years. I absolutely hated retirement! So, I taught graduate courses at the university, but needed to do more with younger children. I was fortuante to be hired by this wonderful school district!

So, my career has gone full circle and hopefully I can take all of my experiences and make teaching and learning even better for children. My last year in the classroom, my gifted 7th and 8th grade students in my scence class gave me this motto that has guided my career. Here is what happened: the students were at a party and a new song by Whitney Houston was playing. All of the students at the party said the song reminded them of me. The song was the "Greatest Love Of All." The first stanza say: "I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way, show them the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride.....everyone is looking for a hero, someone to look up to...." this was the greatest compliment I could have ever received from students and I have cherished it all of my life since that day in class when the students shared this with me.

On a personal note, I am married to a wonderful man who is very supportive of my career. My two children, Bill and Nikki, were blessings from heaven and I felt like I was the only person on earth who was blessed with three wonderful grandchildren.....all boys! My grandchildren are the light of my life! They want me to work in their school district! We go on vacation each year together and they keep me young in actions and thoughts.

Some of my interest are the following: cooking, baking, knitting (I am a beginner), gardening, and reading and writing. I have written several books for children with one being published so far. I love children and feel blessed to be back in the classroom doing what I love to do!