Kathy Walentowicz's job as a resource teacher is to provide extra help for students who have a little trouble with reading or math. But her work at Pasadena Elementary doesn't stop there.
"Miss W." has helped students clean out their lockers. She has created a program that gives students a chance to take turns reading the daily morning announcements. She takes pictures of each student who participates and posts the photos on a bulletin board.
She's even been known to zip out to McDonald's on her lunch hour to buy a student a special lunch for handing in four perfect papers.
"As a resource teacher, she has zillions of things she has to do, but she assumes even more responsibility," said Principal Rocco Ferretti. "Like getting children involved who might not otherwise be involved because maybe they aren't the best reader or the most confident child."
Ten-year-old Ricky Seibel, a fifth-grader who is part of a reading group led by Mrs. Walentowicz, says working with her has boosted his confidence.
"Working with Miss W. really helps my work," he said. "She helps me with my spelling errors, and she does fun activities.
"I love Miss W. If she was about my age and we grew up together, I'd like to marry her," Ricky said.
Mrs. Walentowicz, 42, is just as devoted to Ricky and the 25 other students she works with at the school.
This year, she and the other teachers at Pasadena Elementary decided to try something new --"co-teaching." Instead of pulling out students who need extra one-on-one instruction, Mrs. Walentowicz works with them in their classrooms.
For instance, Lois Stevens' third-graders just finished the novel "Amelia Bedelia," about the adventures of a girl. Each day, Mrs. Walentowicz visited the classroom and worked with a small group of readers to help them with their skills, while Mrs. Stevens taught the others.
To help her group better understand figurative language -- expressions such as "go fly a kite" or "crack a window" -- Mrs. Walentowicz had them write their own novel, "Amelia Bedelia visits Pasadena Elementary," so students would understand the words shouldn't be taken literally.
"This way, I can give my full attention to the students who need that personal instruction from the teacher," said Mrs. Walentowicz.
"And Mrs. Stevens may try to incorporate the skill my students are learning into her own lesson plans," the teacher said. "It's almost like a double dose of direct teacher attention."
Mrs. Walentowicz taught in New Jersey and Texas before coming to Anne Arundel County seven years ago.
She has taught at Pasadena Elementary for two years, working with students in third, fourth and fifth grades.
"It just feels really good to see someone who's been struggling make some progress," she said.
"I'm really just giving a little extra attention to students to get them back on track," she said. "They're really neat kids."