LaTriece Haskins at Swansboro
LaTriece Haskins says that the community feel is what makes Swansboro Elementary such a special place. But to hear everyone else tell it, Haskins herself is a key component in building that sense of community.
Now in her fifth year of teaching– with four years at RPS and two years at Swansboro– Haskins has distinguished herself as an excellent teacher and a dedicated team member who is always willing to help out, whether it be with activities, classroom instruction or even the front office.
“She’s very knowledgeable, and she knows her kids and community well,” said Dr. Wayne Scott, Swansboro Principal. “She is always willing to try new things.”
As a Physical Education teacher, Haskins interacts with every student in the building, but her commitment to the success of each student has led her to aggressive integrate content from all core areas into her gym lessons.
“It takes five minutes to add in, and the kids really enjoy it,” she said, noting that math (her favorite subject) integrates very well in particular. “You can use math in a relay, or they can figure out a math problem and that’s the number of push-ups they need to do.”
When Haskins learned that her students usually had no more than 10 minutes of individual reading time every day in classes, she created active reading stations. The “Read and Ride” stationary bikes and mini-library offer students a place to read and pedal during recess, class or other downtimes during the day. Haskins added a skeleton cut-out (AKA the “Riding Buddy”) to help spur connections to anatomy.
Haskins and Swansboro are part of the STEM and Sport collaboration with VCU Athletics that brings teachers and cool gear for students to learn Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in PE class. The project brings things full circle for Haskins, who studied sports medicine at VCU before moving into education. She said that during her medical course of study, she discovered that she really enjoyed breaking down health information into lessons about its most basic elements, and started to feel a calling to teach younger students. Now it’s her biggest motivation.
“I love being with the kids,” she said.
The kids–and her colleagues– love her back. Haskins was the school’s teacher of the year this year, and she was furthered honored by being named one of the top 10 finalists for the division.
For Haskins, the real reward has been connecting with the Swansboro Family.
“The way parents here care for their kids really touched me,” she said, adding that because of Swansboro’s smaller size, staff members “know siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles- everyone in our children’s lives.” She added that smaller size also allows for more individualized learning and paves the way for teachers to tailor lessons more effectively for each student to create more individualized learning.
Haskins added that students are being exposed to many more different sports at the elementary school level than she remembers experiencing.
“Our students get bowling, fishing, golf, tennis, running club, flag football, and more,” she said. “It’s not just the fitness test.”
When Haskins isn’t at school, she balances her time between continuing her studies (including organic chemistry) and playing baseball and tennis with her eight-year-old son. She also has lots of family in the area that she enjoys spending time with, including a niece and nephew.