Last updated: March 20. 2013 1:54PM - 1481 Views

Teacher Mary Alice Bartz, back left, stands with Classroom Aide Chris Price, back right, and her students. From left, front row: Brady Georgia, Cassie Macpherson, Siya Patel, Gavin Kareha, Brady Moylan; middle row: Cecelia O'Malley, Madeline O'Dell, Samantha Jimenez, Nicholas Chapin, Alexis Laierd, Sadie O'Brian; back row: Tyler Hobbs, Owen McVety, Mary Lynne Reese, Reece Vida, Marli Tinkelman, Gabriella Vourcier.
Teacher Mary Alice Bartz, back left, stands with Classroom Aide Chris Price, back right, and her students. From left, front row: Brady Georgia, Cassie Macpherson, Siya Patel, Gavin Kareha, Brady Moylan; middle row: Cecelia O'Malley, Madeline O'Dell, Samantha Jimenez, Nicholas Chapin, Alexis Laierd, Sadie O'Brian; back row: Tyler Hobbs, Owen McVety, Mary Lynne Reese, Reece Vida, Marli Tinkelman, Gabriella Vourcier.
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Mary Alice Bartz does everything gracefully, including easing into her retirement. This Abington Heights teacher has spent the past 30 years teaching kindergarten at Clarks Summit Elementary. Regarding her retirement, which begins at the end of this school year, she has mixed feelings.


“I’m going to miss the children and families that pass through. And I’m going to miss the people I work with,” Bartz said.


Over the span of three decades, Bartz has seen much change in the school system. When 20 years ago, Clarks Summit Elementary School started the inclusion of special needs children in the districtshe recalled it was difficult to find resources to explain how to integrate the children.


“We had a little boy who couldn’t speak and was not developmentally ready. He couldn’t dress himself or write. But because kindergarten children are the most nurturing, they mothered the boy. And by the end of the year he was able to speak in a full sentence,” Bartz explained.


Bartz mentioned several reasons she knew she had a calling to teach young children. She said she is fascinated by watching young ones learn and seeing the light go on when they get it.


“It’s so exciting to watch,” Bartz said, “seeing how fast they can grasp things. I love the teaching environment structure of the day, and I just love reading a story and teaching them sounds. It truly is exciting every day.”


Clarks Summit Elementary School is different than most area schools in that it still offers half- day kindergarten as opposed to a full day. Bartz said their program is aggressive and very academic. It’s not all about play time. By the end of the year, the children have to write a four- page story with sentences they crafted themselves.


“Thirty years ago, if children knew the letters of the alphabet, we sent them to first grade. Today, they’re coming into kindergarten having to already know the alphabet,” Bartz said.


Within the span of a 34 -year career, Bartz has watched all kinds of children grow and has taught offspring of children who were once in her class. She finds that truly astounding to grasp. Sarah Dawgert nominated Bartz as Teacher of the Month through The Abington Journal. In her letter, Dawgert stated that when her son entered kindergarten at Clarks Summit Elementary this year, she wrote the school to request Bartz.


“Not only had I heard she was an amazing teacher from parents in his preschool, but I knew firsthand. She had been my teacher, too. I was a member of the first class that Mrs. Bartz (then Miss Morgan) ever taught. And now my son is in her last class.”


Dawgert went on to say she remembered Bartz very much as her son described her: encouraging, funny, kind and consistent. She’s happy for her as she retires this year but so sad her younger two children will not have her as their kindergarten teacher.


Bartz grew up in Clarks Summit and attended Abington Heights. She earned her early childhood education Associate’s degree from Keystone College in La Plume. She continued on to Marywood College, where she studied elementary education and early childhood education and earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Her Master’s equivalency is in elementary education. She has taken 84 post graduate credits, all in childhood education.


The Dalton resident began her career in daycare and moved on to teaching first grade at Our Lady of Peace School, Clarks Green. She went on teach kindergarten at St. Gregory’s School in Clarks Green and from there to Clarks Summit Elementary, where she has spent the past 30 years.


“What’s really special is that I was included in Who’s Who in American Teachers three times. It’s very special because former students nominated me. It’s very rare they remember their kindergarten teacher. It was special that they remembered,” Bartz said.


She and David Bartz have been married 28 years. She has two stepdaughters, eight grandchildren and another one on the way. Upon her retirement, she plans to spend time with them in Florida.once in her class. She finds that truly astounding to grasp. Sarah Dawgert nominated Bartz as Teacher of the Month through The Abington Journal. In her letter, Dawgert stated that when her son entered kindergarten at Clarks Summit Elementary this year, she wrote the school to request Bartz.


“Not only had I heard she was an amazing teacher from parents in his preschool, but I knew firsthand. She had been my teacher, too. I was a member of the first class that Mrs. Bartz (then Miss Morgan) ever taught. And now my son is in her last class.”


Dawgert went on to say she remembered Bartz very much as her son described her: encouraging, funny, kind and consistent. She’s happy for her as she retires this year but so sad her younger two children will not have her as their kindergarten teacher.


Bartz grew up in Clarks Summit and attended Abington Heights. She earned her early childhood education Associate’s degree from Keystone College in La Plume. She continued on to Marywood College, where she studied elementary education and early childhood education and earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Her Master’s equivalency is in elementary education. She has taken 84 post graduate credits, all in childhood education.


The Dalton resident began her career in daycare and moved on to teaching first grade at Our Lady of Peace School, Clarks Green. She went on teach kindergarten at St. Gregory’s School in Clarks Green and from there to Clarks Summit Elementary, where she has spent the past 30 years.


“What’s really special is that I was included in Who’s Who in American Teachers three times. It’s very special because former students nominated me. It’s very rare they remember their kindergarten teacher. It was special that they remembered,” Bartz said.


She and David Bartz have been married 28 years. She has two stepdaughters, eight grandchildren and another one on the way. Upon her retirement, she plans to spend time with them in Florida.


 
 
 
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