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March 2012 Community Award Winner - Mrs. Hansen of Sinnott Elementary School

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks

This season, the Sharks Foundation has established the "Sharks Foundation Community Award" which will be given to an individual, business or group that exemplifies the mission of the Sharks Foundation to enhance the lives of youth and families in our local area. These community all-stars have gone above and beyond to help the Sharks Foundation and assist those in need.

For several years, the Reading is Cool Program presented by Comerica Bank has been an extremely useful tool in classrooms across Santa Clara and Southern Alameda Counties.

Susan Hansen, a first grade teacher from Sinnott Elementary School in Milpitas, has been a longtime supporter of the Sharks and has used the Reading is Cool Program in her classroom for years to promote the importance of literacy to her students. She inspires students to do well academically and this has been proven time and time again with her class' monthly reading reports. Making a difference in the lives of youth is a high priority for the Sharks Foundation and Susan Hansen sets a great example of this in her classroom. For this exact reason, Ms. Hansen has been chosen as the Sharks Foundation Community Award Winner for March.

How did you get into teaching and what is it like teaching first graders?
Teaching is an energizing and challenging career. Your brain is constantly engaged in creative ways to make learning happen for each student. I became an elementary teacher after I graduated from college in 1978 because I wanted to be instrumental in helping students realize their potentials and be successful in school. Teaching first grade is especially rewarding because 6 and 7 year olds are very curious about everything and enthusiastic about learning.

How did you first become a Sharks Fan?
My family attended our first Sharks game in 2001. We enjoyed the fast paced action and intensity of the game. Now the San Jose Sharks are our favorite hockey team. Go Sharks!

Why do you participate in Reading Is Cool presented by Comerica Bank every year?
Learning to read is the most important skill which every child must develop to be successful in life. Reading Is Cool is a unique program that motivates students to read and become successful. Each year my students are excited to record the pages they are reading and earn rewards. It also strengthens the home and school connection by getting parents involved in their child's reading. The students are excited about reading and they work very hard in hopes of winning a reward. The day Sharkie came to our class was absolutely the highlight of the school year.

What kind of positive impact has it made on your students and their reading ability?
Reading Is Cool has motivated my students and their families to read thousands of books at school and at home. Each student has significantly improved their reading ability and many are reading above grade level. Most importantly they have developed a love and enthusiasm for reading.

What does receiving the Sharks Foundation Community Award mean to you?
I want to thank the Sharks Foundation for supporting education and providing Reading Is Cool for our community. This award recognizes the dedication of all teachers who strive to make a positive impact in the lives of their students, families and community. I am honored to accept the award and am grateful to the Sharks Foundation for partnering with education to promote reading.

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