Working alongside Katrin McElderry at The Odyssey School is a treat. She is knowledgeable in so very many areas of study (teaching college students methodology courses and science classes in the past), and yet her curiosity and love of learning are always open and flexible. She currently wears the hat of tutor at our school and is fully committed to the students she teaches. When reading novels with her older students, she works to get them thinking deeper, looking at the text in new and varied ways. Writing is an important component to our school and Kate works to develop all levels of writing. She is knowledgeable in Phonographix, a program used to teach our dyslexic children to read. Her positive energy and commitment to teaching--from students to staff-are contagious both to me and to her students!
Elizabeth Cannon M.S,CCC-SLP
Language Arts Teacher/Tutor
The Odyssey School
I worked with Kate McElderry while she was an Community Coordinator at Junction Elementary School in Somes Bar, California, the K-8 Siskiyou County school where I was the K-4 teacher and the principal/superintendent.
Kate facilitated support for the SEAMS (Siskiyou Eisenhower Applied Math and Science) Project at Junction for all students, grades K-8. To accomplish this, Kate supported the project by creating special projects, supplying and organizing materials, providing lesson plans, and teaching lessons, while working together closely with staff.
During this time, Kate was enthusiastic, collaborative, energetic, and dedicated. She enjoyed the teachers and all of the students of all ages. They always looked forward to working together with her. Her high level of professionalism remained consistent while working with students, teachers, instructional aides, and parents.
Kate has devoted her professional career to providing the best experiences for her students. She has especially focused on nurturing respect in her students for the world in which we live. Kate’s enthusiasm continues to blossom as her past experiences serve to further enrich her teaching. She is a confident, capable, caring educator!
Teacher, 33 years, Siskiyou County, California, grades K-12,Special Education; Mild-Moderate, Moderate-Severe, Administration
I have known and worked with Ms. McElderry for the past 11 years. I consider her to be one of the most creative and dedicated professionals that I've ever met or worked with. Her commitment to her students extends beyond the confines of the classroom; she has a genuine interest and investment in the success of each one of them as a growing person.
Aside from her teaching, Ms. McElderry is also an accomplished dancer and spends much of her free time working with students on dance and performance.
I would consider Ms. McElderry a great asset to any team or organization.
Math and Drama Teacher
The Odyssey School
Kate, is a tough act to follow. She's an amazing professional in every way...so great on the academic side, but kind, caring and fun beyond words. My kids learned and benefited from her teaching and influence greatly. I feel indebted for her help with our bright, very dyslexic children who also have ADHD and anxiety issues. Alex, mom
My 5th grade son came to Kate literally unable to read anything beyond high frequency words like "the" and "it." Actually, he mixed up "it" and "is," so you could argue "is" wasn't even mastered! The frustration my son experienced was painful to witness. It is pretty disheartening as a parent to see your smart 10 year old feel misunderstood, stupid and defeated in life because he doesn't spell or read naturally.
I heard about Kate and within two years of consistent one-on-one tutoring, something really amazing happened. My son's phonological awareness not only improved, but soared with the different methods and strategies being used. As a result, he learned to really decode and read fluently. My son caught up two grades levels during this time and most impressive of all is that he now LOVES school. Writing and spelling are still hurdles to work through, but my son will get there and best of all he knows he will get there. It goes to show that working with someone who understands how to teach dyslexics can make all the difference in unleashing potential and confidence, which my son has in spades now.
One of the most inspiring elements of Kate McElderry, is her steadfast commitment to the holistic education of her students.
She has brought environmental awareness to our school and has encouraged students (and staff) to take action through responsibility and leadership.
Kate has also developed the school dance team, which is just the latest example of how she instills students with the same drive, passion, and excellence that she presents in every situation.
Cabel Alfriend, Dance Partner/
Teacher; Social Studies & The Genius Hour Project, The Odyssey School
I have had the pleasure of working with Kate for many years. She
began at Odyssey as the Lower School Science Head and brought so much
passion and dedication to her classes. They were always experimenting with
hands on materials and working outside whenever possible. Odyssey worked
hard to get her back to work with us again as a tutor and she brings the
same commitment. Her tutoring groups are often creating projects from
books they have read, having tea parties and making connections to the
bigger world through projects and discussions. Kate never does anything
halfway. She is always creating wonderful opportunities for her students
to flourish! Kate has a positive impact on her students both academically
and personally and they come back to visit her often.
Amy Norris Metzger
Assistant Middle School Head
The Odyssey School
Dear Ms. McElderry,
Thanks for a great year. I learned a lot and know that my reading and writing have both improved from your guidance.
I will never forget you and that includes your popcorn habit, tea parties and funny stories.
I will always think of you when I drink Earl Grey now. Have a great summer. -Jack
I have had the pleasure of working with Kate for several years now and she never ceases to amaze me with her creativity and dedication to her students. She truly strives to provide meaningful connections to the curriculum at every possible juncture.
One such example is when her students presented their piñata project to several groups of middle school students, explaining powerful words that they had identified from the novel, The Book Thief. As an outside observer, it was a neat project, but to the students who worked on it, they developed deep connections to the text. Kate is a master teacher and her students are lucky to have the benefit of such a dedicated educator.
Katie Linley Clark,
Language Teacher, The Odyssey School
Hi Kate, Just wanted you to know that E did a really nice job using the brain frame strategy you taught him. It is amazing how this strategy helps him develop so many details and facts. When he is looking at a blank computer screen, he has nothing to say. But when you set up the Brain Frame with the main topic written in it, he is so adept at generating different ideas from it. A couple of times, he got so excited about what he was writing that he grabbed the pen out of my hand to write notes. I think it [EmPOWER] is a very useful strategy for him, and I wanted you to know this. I don't think he could have pulled together an essay over a jam-packed weekend without it. :) L
Kate and I worked together in Happy Camp, California. Happy Camp is in the mountains of Siskiyou County at the very top of California. Its geography provided many opportunities for experiential learning.
During those years, I was a science and math teacher for grades 6, 7 and 8. I also functioned as consultant for a grant project in applied science and mathematics and mentor to young teachers. Kate team taught with me, also acting as Community Coordinator for the project at large for all of the river schools in Siskiyou County, California. It was a big job, with a large territory for her to cover, but Kate managed her role and tasks extremely well.
In working with Kate, I found her to be bright, hard working, knowledgeable, warm and personable. She worked with me between the four walls of the classroom and also in the creeks and mountains. Together we taught the students about the world they live in.
It did not take long for me to discover that Kate is not only professional and scholarly, but also artistic. As part of a study of birds, she created a mural of the birds of the area for students to paint on an outer wall of our portable classroom. The project was so successful that three more group murals, two of them involving parents and staff, came about as a result. The murals are still there to this day!
Kate and I encouraged our students to be explorers . With the students, we navigated creeks and streams of the local area, classifying and monitoring biotic and abiotic features of the ecosystem. With her help, the students learned aquatic science hands-on, versus through a text book. Kate assisted students in macro-invertebrate classification and chemical test monitoring, the combination of which gave the students a picture of stream health.
Kate and I also hiked the mountains, classifying trees and conducting vegetation analysis, while also looking for evidence of specific wildlife. Kate always studied ahead of time and was able to answer student questions well. Whether inside or outside the classroom, Kate directed the students' learning in a highly engaging and exciting way.
As a result, the students loved her. They loved her. Kate was able to establish trust so that what she had to offer the students was well received.
Looking back, I consider it a privilege to have worked with Kate. She was every science teacher's dream assistant.
Horse Creek, California
Retired Science & Math Teacher
Retired Consultant to Siskiyou Eisenhower Applied Science and Mathematics Project
I had the pleasure of collaborating with Kate McElderry on two mural projects at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. She was full of fun ideas and energy and was a natural at encouraging creative expression in the children.
At the time, Kate was coordinating special projects and teaching nature and environmental studies to 9-11 year olds. She challenged her students to make a painting that reflected issues of drought, water conservation and watershed protection. The prompt provided was, "Without water there would be no...." It was a wonderful mural--successful as a work of art as well as learning experience!
With a group of younger children, ages 5-8 years old, Kate and I let students invent their own story, which was about a giant ant, rainbows, flowers and much more. It was a terrific collaborative journey with everyone involved tapping into his or her own imagination.
Kate is a true collaborator, a team player and educator who seeks and celebrates creative education in and out of the classroom. She is truly special.
Sally Davis, artist
Kate is nothing short of a creative genius. She knows her stuff and gets kids. I have felt really lucky to have my son under her watch. -Chase, dad
Dear Miss McElderry, I know out of all of the vocabulary I learned from your class, I should be able to think of some good words to say, but they are just not coming. So I'm just going to say this. I know I was not the easiest to work with, but you just never gave up on me. You never did. Thank you.