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Teacher Spotlight January 7, 2019

Spotlight on Janine Pierantozzi

Janine joined our Belmont Charter Network family in 2017 and has been a wonderful addition to our elementary school. As a Reading Interventionist, she has greatly impacted students who are struggling in thereof reading. With her warm smile and calm demeanor, she makes students feel at ease and supports them in growing and learning each day. The students absolutely adore her! Her colleagues speak highly of her and the effective job that she does in supporting phonics instruction in their classrooms each day.

Janine has had a wide range of experiences in many types of schools and across grade levels. However, her passion is with the elementary grades and in the field of literacy. The words of Ban Ki-Moon deeply resonate with her. She believes that education has the power to “…unlock the capacity of individuals to imagine and create a more fulfilling future. It opens the way to greater justice, equality and progress. Literacy can help societies heal, advance political processes and contribute to the common good.” Janine works hard each day to be an advocate and leader in supporting her students with reading skills. She partners with their families and fellow educators in support of kids to build stronger literacy practices and strategies.

In partnership with Bob Szybist, Janine has written the Social Emotional Learning Curriculum (P.A.W.S.) for BCES. Students are strengthening their self-regulation and social skills using lessons based on the monthly themes of self-control, kindness, solving problems, gratitude, tolerance and more. Overall, Janine supports any and every endeavor in our school to ensure that it is an awesome place to work and learn.

Questions for Ms. Janine

Where is home?

Hudson Valley, New York

Primary Subject Taught


Grades Taught

Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st-4th reading, 10th-grade literary analysis

When you were your students’ age, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I loved the arts and always thought I’d end up being a musician or artist.

What was your favorite subject as a student?


Why did you become a teacher?

I’ve always loved being around and working with kids for as long as I can remember and wanted to have a career that I felt passionate about doing every day. I love reading and writing and am passionate about issues related to educational equity and social justice, particularly related to critical literacy, which drives the work I do every day.

What makes your school a special place?

Belmont is a special place for so many reasons. We have some incredible educators at our school and such an awesome staff who deeply care about and love the students and families in our school community.

What is the best part of your school day?

Talking with kids about the books we read and seeing kids develop confidence and a love of reading.

What is your favorite lesson that you teach?


How do you create joy in the classroom?

By building relationships with my students and learning about what they love and are passionate about and sharing my passions with them, being silly and playful, and by making reading fun with games, challenges, and goal setting.

What is the one thing in the classroom that you cannot live without?

My kidney table!

What is the best field trip you have ever taken?

When I was a Preschool teacher in Camden we used to go to the Camden’s Children Garden every year. It’s such a special and beautiful place to watch young children be inquisitive and engage with nature.

What is the best way to spend summer vacation?

Spending time with family and friends and traveling.

What book do you read over and over again?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

What is your favorite Philly activity for a day off?

Biking or running on the Schuylkill Trail and eating good food in the city.

What makes you excited to go to work?

The relationships I have with my students and seeing and supporting them with their growth as readers.

What have you learned about yourself this year?

I’ve learned about the importance of collaboration and how much more can be done when we partner with each other and share ideas. My colleagues push my thinking and inspire me every day.

What is the best gift you have ever received?

One of the best gifts I’ve ever received as a teacher was from one of my Kindergarten students, Treasure. She and her Mom gave me a framed photo with the Maya Angelou quote, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It serves as a daily reminder about how you never know what someone may be going through outside of school and to treat people with compassion and love.

What is the greatest challenge you face as a teacher and how do you overcome it?

I think the greatest challenge I face as a teacher is knowing that there are structural systems of inequity and oppression that our students and their families are faced with every day and trying to disrupt them from a ground up, holistic approach at Belmont. I think a lot about the quote, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” -Edward E. Hale

When do you feel successful?

I feel successful when my students make growth with their reading and when I see students develop confidence and positive reading identities.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

To do this work you have to have heart and balance in your life and surround yourself with the right people.

Whom do you most admire?

My co-teacher, Angela Macklin, from my 1st year teaching in 2012. She taught me everything I know and served as a model and mentor for collaborating with families, how to build strong relationships, and respecting and honoring children’s voices and experiences.