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Park Terrace teacher Justine Hryhorysak laughing with two of her students

Justine Hryhorysak

Park Terrace Elementary School

Third Grade Teacher

What year did you start working in Spring Lake Park Schools? 

Why did you choose to join Spring Lake Park Schools?
I have always wanted to work in a school where there was rich diversity and I knew I had to be part of Spring Lake Park Schools when I toured Park Terrace. Students come from all over the world here and I wanted to be a part of a place that had the opportunity to learn from the diversity and empower the students within the school. While walking through the halls of Park Terrace, you can tell how every single teacher wants the world to see how incredible each student in their class really is and all of the talent they have to offer.

What's the best part of your day, as an employee of Spring Lake Park Schools?
One of my favorite parts of the day is actually saying goodbye to my students. Not because they are leaving, but because I can feel how much they really want to be at Park Terrace and in our classroom. This is home to so many students and it makes me feel incredibly privileged to know we are creating that kind of environment. My students and I also do a handshake at the end of the day to remind both of us that it isn't a goodbye, it's a see you later. They will come back tomorrow and I will, too. 

What do you do when you're not at work?
I love gardening and going to local art shows. To be honest, I love eating and trying new food, especially Vietnamese food. For a fun fact, I am a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do!

How do you Personalize Learning for students?
I try to personalize learning by letting my students know how important their identity is to me and that I want to see them for every part of who they are because they matter and are valued in our space. I constantly seek out opportunities to learn more about my students' cultures and where their family comes from. If we give students an opportunity to dive deeper into their own identity, we are setting them up to be proud of who they are and where they come from. This automatically creates a space for them to feel as though their learning is centered around who they are and where they want to go. 

What makes you #SLPPantherProud?
I am #SLPPantherProud because our classrooms are communities and our communities become families Not many schools can say they create this kind of environment and I am so proud to be a part of a larger than life family that supports each other through our highs and lows. 

Click here to read about other staff members and why they're #SLPPantherProud.