The letter this mom wrote to us praised a Rockford 'Calm Classroom' teacher for how safe and loved this very specialized classroom makes her daughter feel.

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What is a Calm Classroom

Our regular weekly segment honoring teachers, 97ZOK Teacher Of The Week, included details on an unheard-of type of classroom, at least for me it was.

Congratulations to Denise Cacciapaglia from Welsh Elementary in Rockford, IL

97ZOK Teacher of the Week-Denise Cacciapaglia from Welsh Elementary in Rockford, IL
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Denise has been a Calm Classroom teacher at Welsh for 4 years, and during our phone conversation, Denise described what her classroom is about.

97ZOK Teacher of the Week-Denise Cacciapaglia from Welsh Elementary in Rockford, IL
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It's a safe space that's both proactive and reactive in helping kids manage their behavior throughout the day. A typical day for Denise includes small group social and emotional lessons, yoga and meditation lessons, and working with kids in crisis. Her days can include helping kindergartners work through tantrums to helping 5th graders with recess issues.

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CalmClassroom.org defines these rooms as a place for,

creating simple & actionable self-care & social-emotional learning tools so mindful adults & their little ones can learn & practice wellness strategies in the classroom & beyond.

Just like Ashley Kadolph, the mom who wrote us the nomination letter, I'm also grateful to know that there are actual classrooms that provide this kind of space for children with these kinds of needs.

Below is Ashley's letter nominating Denise Cacciapaglia for Teacher of the Week.

I will try to keep this brief, although I could go on and on about how amazing this spectacular woman is! Miss Denise is the calm room teacher at this elementary school, and WOW she does her job incredibly! I could not picture a better person in this role. My daughter is in 1st grade now, but she super struggled entering kindergarten last year. My daughter is autistic and there are a lot of challenges in managing her behavioral issues as well as her focus. I truly trust Miss Denise and I feel like she is the best advocate for my child, as well as I'm sure so many other children that need it. We have great affection for Miss Denise and she is absolutely our favorite! She goes above and beyond her job title to customize assistance for every student that faces different & difficult challenges at this school. When you have a child with special needs, it is so important to know that there is someone in their environment who is 100% on their side, and she is always there for my baby girl, to encourage her, to help her when she is scared or overwhelmed, and to make her feel safe and secure. I'm getting misty writing this because she is not just teacher of the week, but teacher of the year, and maybe even the decade!! She deserves this recognition again and again and again! Shame on me for being so lazy and not getting this done last year, lol. We love you, Miss Denise!!

97ZOK Teacher of the Week-Denise Cacciapaglia from Welsh Elementary in Rockford, IL
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As Teacher of the Week, Denise was surprised with a cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes and money to spend at WM Day Spa.

I wanted to also share an email (below) that Denise sent to me going into a little more detail about her Calm Classroom.

97ZOK Teacher of the Week-Denise Cacciapaglia from Welsh Elementary in Rockford, IL
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97ZOK Teacher of the Week-Denise Cacciapaglia from Welsh Elementary in Rockford, IL
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Click HERE to nominate your favorite for 97ZOK's Teacher of the Week.

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