Pleasant Ridge Excel Award recipient teaches students to work together


by WHAS11

Posted on April 25, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 26 at 5:42 PM

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Our WHAS Excel Award winner for Greater Clark County Schools also carries the title of Teacher of the Year for that school system.

This Excel Award also brought out a real sense of community pride for Charlestown. Pleasant Ridge Elementary School has made significant improvement in recent test scores and 5th Grade Teacher Crystal Merrifield has been right in the middle of that success.

They say Crystal Merrifield has a way of making each of her students feel like they are the most important.

Working together is key in Merrifield's class. Students work with their neighbor, the student in the next seat, and they are learning partners in Crystal Merrifield's 5th grade classroom. More than 20 individual students gathered in small groups become something else.

“We become a family. We all take care of one another. Teaching one another, and helping each other, working cooperatively, is a philosophy of how I teach,” Merrifield said. “And I believe that together we are better and we can be the best, rather than trying to do it all on our own.”

It is also a school philosophy in Charlestown where test scores have soared, and everyone works together.

And on Wednesday, Crystal Merrifield was honored as the best at helping students work and learn together.

She wants to be the teacher that her students will remember. And she teaches because of a joyful second grade teacher that she will never forget.

“After I finished second grade, I wanted to be a teacher…that I could have students and they could remember school, that way and enjoy school the way that she taught me to enjoy school,” Merrifield said.

A fifth grade class member from last year even came to congratulate Merrifield and brought a tearful tribute.

Working together is the goal and when it's over Crystal Merrifield says it makes you a better person.

This was really a community celebration in Charlestown and one of the speakers was Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall.

Hall asked the audience, how many students planned to attend college and almost all of them raised their hands. It’s teachers like Crystal Merrifield who are making that kind of optimism possible.