New teacher works with young students

Dieter shares her enthusiasm with kindergarten students
By: Chelsea Foster, Colfax Record Correspondent
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Colfax Elementary School’s newest kindergarten teacher, Amy Dieter, teaches her young students the basics in a fun, fresh way with her lively, enthusiastic attitude. Dieter joined Colfax Elementary this year after moving to Meadow Vista from Sacramento. Dieter, who is from Fresno, said she loves the foothills. Her husband is originally from Colfax, and Dieter said their family connection helps them feel at home in the area. “My husband and I both resigned from our teaching positions in Sacramento. I saw this opportunity up here in Colfax and my eyes just lit up. It’s only 20 minutes from my house. It was like coming back home and serving the community where we live, which is important to us,” Dieter said. Colfax Elementary School Principal and District Superintendent Anne Stone said that she is delighted to have Dieter on staff. "Amy is fabulous. We are very excited to have her here," Stone said. "She is very loving and also very disciplined, a great balance. She understands the big picture of an elementary student's comprehensive career, which--though important--can sometimes get lost in kindergarten. We want to have her here for a long time." Dieter earned two teaching credentials from California State University at Chico, then received a Governor’s Teaching Fellowship, which helped pay off her student loans while she taught at an inner-city school in Sacramento for two years. Coming out of inner-city schools, where she taught first, third and fourth grades along with English Learning Development, has been a big change of pace for Dieter. “I’m just as pleased as punch to be here in Colfax. People go a little slower here. We’re more connected to nature, too, which is great,” Dieter said. “I was surprised and delighted with the amount of parent involvement here at Colfax Elementary.” Dieter plans to ensure that her kids have fun learning. Her classroom is a colorful, active environment where students can engage easily. “In kindergarten, the students come in and don’t know what school is like. It takes some time to get used to the routine, but this bright class is already really getting the procedures and building relationships. Now we can really ramp up the academics,” Dieter said. Her students are learning plenty of the basic building blocks. A typical day plan includes language, mathematics, music and movement, reading and art. Dieter includes many songs in her teaching style, singing rhymes and songs to help the children pay attention and remember information. The students respond well to this, singing along loudly and enjoying it, according to kindergartener Kaelin McKelvey. “Mrs. Dieter is nice. I like how she sings songs with us,” Kaelin said. Dieter named her class the “Fabulous Frogs of Room Two” to give the class a fun theme. Students sit on “lily pads” on the carpet for group reading, jump like frogs together to get their wiggles out, and listen to Jeremiah the Bullfrog – Dieter’s puppet – teach language lessons. Student Braeden Nissen said that she likes being the “Fabulous Frogs of Room Two,” because she loves animals. “I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up because I like animals,” Braeden said. “It’s fun being the frogs in class.” Dieter’s class is full of bright and helpful students who range from math-loving future-veterinarians like Nissen to future athletes to artistic design-savvy students like Kayla Langis. There is plenty of encouragement for each student’s talents. “My favorite thing to do at school is coloring,” Kayla said. “I get to play with my friends, too.” “I have a delightful class. They’re very sweet,” Dieter said. “They play well together and work well together. It’s becoming very family-like.” Dieter said that she is very impressed with the welcoming, family atmosphere at her new school and is excited for the year ahead. “I want the community here to realize what a jewel they have, truly,” Dieter said. “When I left Sacramento, I wasn’t really sure that I would stay in public education. Seeing the things I saw, I was even questioning as a parent whether I’d have to put my kids in private school. But coming here, my spirit is restored. The teachers are committed to education, and the kids have fun coming to school.”