JFK Teacher Named Finalist for Top Teacher

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Special education teacher Danielle Greco at John F. Kennedy Middle School in the Bethpage Union Free School District was nominated and has been named a finalist for Live’s 3rd Annual Top Teacher Search, which is sponsored by television personality Kelly Ripa on the Live with Kelly show.

Denise Ingenito, mother of JFK student Peter Ingenito, nominated Ms. Greco for the contest. Below is her letter of recommendation:
 
“I nominate Danielle Greco for Top Teacher. Ms. Greco is a special education teacher at JFK Middle School. She became our son’s and many other students' ‘on earth angel’ upon entering middle school! Our son Peter is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, an autistic spectrum disorder. His ability to adjust to new environments, deal with highly stimulating situations, and make friends has always been difficult. Academically, he is very bright but becoming overwhelmed leads to confusion and disorganization -- all issues that become a challenge when entering a new school that requires more independence! Ms. Greco was Peter's resource room teacher, and the first thing Peter learned was that when he entered Ms. Greco's classroom, there would be no stress. It became his mantra and Ms. Greco's classroom became his safe haven to regroup for the rest of the day. Ms. Greco became Peter's anchor during the school day. As the year progressed, we became aware that not only was Ms. Greco reinforcing academic needs, but also implementing strategies to help Peter learn how to organize himself, feel more confident, advocate for himself, and negotiate the difficult social world of middle school. She also came forward as Peter's biggest advocate. Any need, support or service that Peter needed, Ms. Greco had in place sometimes even before we knew Peter needed it! Ms. Greco is responsible for numerous students with various special needs and she devotes the same amount of dedication to each child as if he or she is the only one she is working with. She is a very special woman. Beyond her dedicated teaching, last year, Ms. Greco initiated, got the funding for, and coordinated a new program called Challenger Basketball that made a huge impact on our son and the other students. She coordinated with other local school districts to create a program that enabled middle school and high school students with special needs to play basketball. It was remarkable on so many levels! These games included real basketball uniforms, on a real high school basketball court with an announcer, varsity cheerleaders, the mascot, etc. -- all the makings of a real high school game. All of the teachers and administrators came out to support the kids as well as the varsity high school athletic teams! It has been incredible to watch children with various disabilities beam with confidence with hundreds of their peers and teachers cheering them on. The children help each other out on the court and have developed a bond that is generally difficult for them to develop! One child was heard to comment that he finally felt ‘normal.’ This program has also gone beyond the special needs children as it has created a culture of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion among the general education students. It stands to reason that one person can make a difference, and Ms. Greco is a shining example of this. On behalf of our son and all of his classmates, please consider Ms. Greco for your top teacher, as she so deserves the recognition!”