At Mount Alvernia Academy (MAA), Second Grade marks an exciting chapter in students’ academic journeys. They take on new academic, spiritual, and social responsibilities. Many of our Second Graders make their First Communion and all participate in our Second Grade Liturgy, affirming their commitment to share their God-given gifts with others. Understanding and nurturing guides are essential during this time, which is why the new Second Grade Home Room teacher, Ms. Amy Santiano, is perfect for the job.
Ms. Santiano, who taught first, second, and third-grade reading and science at MAA before taking on her new role, strives to be a steadying presence for her students. “I love listening to my students and trying to understand them at their level. I am so grateful I get to do it every day,” she said. Her passion for helping students feel confident and understood is rooted in her own Second Grade experience.
“It’s funny, but the first person who comes to mind as a role model is my second-grade teacher. She was not warm and fuzzy at all,” she laughed. “I remember being scared of her at first! But she eventually became my favorite teacher,” she continued. “She could reach kids that were a little shy, which I was.” Her teacher’s passion for reading, in particular, proved contagious and remains a strong influence on Ms. Santiano today. “She loved books! She had such passion for sharing her favorite authors with us. She inspired me to develop a similar passion, which I still have today,” she said.
Ms. Santiano uses that passion to help her students feel confident as they adjust to the rigors of second grade. “I love teaching second grade. I feel like it is a year in which children really develop their independence. I love being part of the team that fosters that,” she said. Ms. Santiano is thankful that she had the chance to learn from former second-grade teachers Mrs. Dieso and Mrs. Luciano. Her familiarity with the second-grade curriculum and experience working with Mrs. Dieso and her fellow homeroom teacher, Ms. Caitlyn Wolford, has helped her quickly find a rhythm and become an excellent guide for her students. “It can be difficult at times for students to adjust to the new level of responsibility that comes with the second-grade schedule. But the reward, a confident and well-adjusted child, is so worth it.”
When she first visited MAA, Ms. Santiano knew it was a special place. “The hill leading up to the building and the playground watched over by the main building, it all made me feel very safe and peaceful,” she remembered. Over the years, though, she has come to learn that her sense of peace and safety comes not just from the campus’ natural beauty, but the people who call this place home. “As as beautiful as it is, that special quality does not just come from the campus. It comes from the people, the students, faculty, staff, and parents. It’s the community. And I am proud to be a part of it.” We are proud of Ms. Santiano and thrilled that she is part of our community.