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### Greenfield Middle School Grinspoon Award Winner Inspires Students to Excel

Greenfield Recorder – Grinspoon award recipient ‘inspires students’ at Greenfield Middle School

Greenfield Middle School’s seventh-grade math educator, Jessica Carriveau, has been honored with the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award, also recognized as the Grinspoon award.

Approximately 14 years back, Jessica Carriveau, a teacher at Greenfield Middle School, nominated a fellow first-year teacher for the prestigious Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award. Fast forward to the present, the favor has been reciprocated.

During the School Committee’s meeting on Feb. 14, the Greenfield School Department named Carriveau as the recipient of the 2023-2024 award. Carriveau expressed that this recognition serves as an additional source of motivation alongside her passion for educating the city’s adolescents.

Established in 2003, the Grinspoon award, presented by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation in collaboration with the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, will be bestowed upon Carriveau and other awardees from Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties at a banquet scheduled at The Log Cabin in Holyoke on April 24.

“I’ve aspired to be a teacher for the majority of my life; it’s always been my goal,” mentioned Carriveau, who imparts knowledge in seventh-grade math. “While this may not be the pinnacle, being acknowledged for something I’ve dedicated my entire life to feels incredibly rewarding.”

For Carriveau, this recognition marks a significant moment of completion. She shared that she and seventh-grade English teacher Ashley Winn commenced their journey at Greenfield Middle School in 2010. In their inaugural year, Carriveau nominated Winn for the award, which Winn eventually won, and this year, Winn returned the gesture.

In her nomination, Winn praised Carriveau, stating, “Not only does Jess bring out the best in her fellow teachers, she brings out the best in students each and every day. They take risks because they know Mrs. Carriveau will guide and support them every step of the way. They want to make her proud, but she wants them to make themselves proud; both of those wishes come true over and over again in Mrs. C’s classroom as the school year flies by.”

Reflecting on their initial year at the school, Carriveau admitted they were “muddling through,” but after 14 years, she finds teaching middle school students to be her true calling, as she has developed a deep affection for this age group, despite the challenges associated with 12 and 13-year-olds.

“They’re still like little kids at times … but they’re old enough to understand jokes and to be goofy with,” Carriveau remarked. Although she holds certification to teach high school courses, she has no intentions of transitioning to higher grades. “Building relationships with students and witnessing the growth throughout a single year is truly remarkable to me.”

Carriveau’s teaching philosophy, albeit “corny,” revolves around treating her students with the same level of respect she expects from them and fostering open communication.

“When I’m having a rough day, I’ll let them know, and we build a good relationship that way. They know I’m never going to hide things from them … and they reciprocate,” Carriveau explained. “Not every day is perfect, but when it is, you want it to be acknowledged too. … It seems to work; they’re 12, but they understand.”

Apart from the joyous interactions with her students—although she humorously noted that the atmosphere can sometimes be less enjoyable because, ultimately, it is a math class—Carriveau emphasized the incredible support she receives from her colleagues and the administration, making Greenfield Middle School an exceptional workplace.

“With our outstanding principal at the middle school, my team of seventh-grade teachers is fantastic, and the students have made me look forward to coming to work every day,” Carriveau added. “I envision myself staying in Greenfield for the foreseeable future.”

For inquiries, contact Chris Larabee at [email protected] or 413-930-4081.

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