The state’s top teacher is inspiring Springfield Central High School’s ninth graders.
Anne Marie Bettencourt, 31, of Hatfield is the Massachusetts 2013 Teacher of the Year, which makes her eligible for the National Teacher of the Year Program.
In an interview with the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Bettencourt gave credit to two teachers at New Bedford High who, she says, saved her life. “I didn’t have much else besides school and some really good teachers,” she said.
Bettencourt said writing, in particular, became a way for her to express her frustrations with life at home. It bolstered her self-confidence and determination, something she’s now trying to do in her ninth-grade English class.
And it appears to be working.
According to school officials, in 2012, more than 90 percent of students Bettencourt taught moved on to the 10th grade, as compared to roughly 50 percent of ninth graders across the district. Students interviewed by the Springfield Republican say they look forward to being in her classroom. One of her students this year took top honors in a statewide poetry competition.
Bettencourt has turned her journal from her days as a student teacher in Springfield into a book, Teaching in the Real World: Strategies to Survive and Thrive, published by Pearson, a higher education firm that is the parent company of Prentice Hall.
Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Daniel J. Warwick described Bettencourt as “a consummate professional who is committed to helping all students reach their potential. Her work with ninth graders is truly remarkable.”
Bettencourt will receive her award at a Statehouse ceremony June 13.•