Phoenix high school teacher wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute
PHOENIX — A Valley high school teacher was named KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show’s Pay Tribute to a Teacher winner for February, presented by Your Valley Toyota Dealers.
Ginette Rossi is an 11th grade teacher at Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix.
During most of her 22 years teaching, Rossi taught to middle schoolers, but one thing remains the same: her compassion for all students.
Rossi’s desire to reach a marginalized community of students through literacy prompted one letter writer to nominate her for the $2,500 prize.
“My life has kind of been getting hands filled with books and books that are written by people who they (students) identify with and so part of this journey has been that … I like to frame literacy as a human right because I wish someone said that to me at one point in my life,” Rossi said.
“If (I knew) literacy was a human right, I would’ve taken school a lot more seriously than I did, so basically that started being my mission.”
For this reason, she took inspiration from other teachers in the U.S. and created a concept called “Book Bistro.”
Rossi said during scheduled reading time, students get to pick whatever they want, from a regular book to a comic book, so long as it was for 20 minutes.
“Before I knew it, what was supposed to be forced reading time, they actually were looking forward to it,” Rossi said.
She said her concept, which includes a coffeehouse-style atmosphere with refreshments and snacks, has been adopted by 33 other schools across Arizona.
With her prize, Rossi said she’ll likely buy books for herself and take a day-trip to the beach.
She also wants to use the money to create mini libraries around the school where more books can be housed for the students.
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