Rebecca Sweeney Named Paraeducator of the Year

Rebecca Sweeney Named Paraeducator of the Year
Posted on 06/11/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Rebecca Sweeney Named Paraeducator of the Year

Norwalk, Conn. (June 11, 2020) – Marvin Elementary School’s Rebecca J. Sweeney has been named Norwalk Paraeducator of the Year. Ms. Sweeney was chosen for her strong focus on instructional support, the ability to adapt to students in the current distance learning environment, and consistent dedication to Marvin students, families and colleagues.

“Ms. Sweeney is a true team player who collaborates with her colleagues to provide students with the encouragement, motivation and skills they need to be successful not only in reading, but throughout their educational careers,” said Marvin Elementary School Principal Ms. Sue-Ellen O'Shea. “We are privileged to have Rebecca’s talent, dedication and positive personality as part of the Marvin family.”

As the Marvin reading interventionist for the past three years, Ms. Sweeney tutors small groups of at-risk readers and those K-3 students in need of extra support in reading through Implement Enhanced Core Reading Instruction and Early Intervention in Reading). In addition to helping students with reading, she serves as a resource for teachers as well.

Ms. Sweeney participates in a variety of activities outside of the work day. She is known for her kindness and caring for students, staff, and those who are in need. Each year, Ms. Sweeney and a partner work tirelessly to ensure that all students have a gift during the holiday season. This involves everything from culling the list of students to getting outside donations, to ensuring that all student gifts are accounted for and picked up each year. Her hard work and dedication helps to make the holidays brighter for many.

Ms. Sweeney also helps with the school’s infamous lost and found items that manage to pile up. A couple of times each year, she ensures that all items are laid out so students can reclaim their lost articles. When that process is completed, Rebecca then washes and donates anything unclaimed to those in need.

Prior to her role as a Reading Interventionist, Ms. Sweeney served as Instructional Aide/Project Excel Aide at Marvin where she worked with groups of at-risk readers and those students in need of extra support in math and writing. Additionally, she assisted teachers and administrators with students’ successful learning and behavioral development. Sweeney previously worked as a certified substitute teacher in the district, and a tutor in the Family Resource Center at Naramake Elementary School. She was also a Summer Camp Counselor for a pre-kindergarten class at Earthplace in Westport.

Ms. Sweeney is a devoted member of the Norwalk community, having volunteered as a mentor for the Norwalk Mentor Program. As a mentor, she consistently met with a student mentee to support and encourage life goals and to be a friend. She is currently co-chairperson of the Social Concerns Committee at St. Jerome Church, where she runs education and service opportunities to better the lives of those who need it. Sweeney also oversees monthly food drives for three local food pantries.

Nominated by staff members and selected by the Marvin School Governance Council, Ms. Sweeney was honored virtually along with others throughout the district with an Excellence in Educational Support Award this spring. The Educational Support Awards were designed to honor staff members who have earned the respect and admiration of students, teachers, administrators, co-workers and parents.

On behalf of all Norwalk paraeducators, Ms. Sweeney will continue on to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the School Paraprofessional Advisory Council Paraeducator of the Year program. The program was established in honor of Anne Marie Murphy, a paraeducator who lost her life at Sandy Hook, and recognizes the important role of the paraeducator in supporting student achievement.