LA CROSSE, Wis. - This month's Top Notch Teacher is hitting all the right notes with her students.
Her job title is choral director at Lincoln Middle School in La Crosse, but those who know her, know she's so much more.
A quick glance inside Jennifer Gulsvig's choir room, and you can see the diversity. "I believe that every kid should sing or be a part of music and so I let anyone in that wants to be part of my program," said Lincoln Middle School Choral Director Jennifer Gulsvig.
When Miss Gulsvig first started at Lincoln 7 years ago, she had 19 students in the show choir. Now, she has two choirs with more than 90 kids. "I think middle school is the time to try everything and so I believe that if a kids wants to do something, I think they should be able to do it."20408906
"I think she's a little more laid back than some of the other teachers and lets you have some fun in class and seems like a lot of kids just enjoy her class," said 8th grader Jack Hinton.
And because she doesn't cut anyone from auditions, she has one of the only show choir programs in the area that includes students with special needs. "They may not be in that top show choir at the high school, but they had an opportunity in middle school and I've seen improvement in every single one of those kids and that is awesome to see," said Miss Gulsvig.
But Miss Gulsvig's caring for her students goes beyond just the choir room. She tries to make sure everyone knows they're special. "I make it a point to be at everything I can possibly be at for them so I run the clock for the boys football games, I keep book for the basketball games, both boys and girls and then when we have track meets when the weather is good, I help out at all the track meets, and as much as I can cross country and volleyball."
"I think she's incredible, it's like the one class where I can really talk to her, I know she's going to be supportive of everything I do and I can really excel in choir because I'm so trustworthy of her and I know she respects me," said 8th grader Avery DeBoer.
And Miss Gulsvig credits her successful teaching style with two people who've made a big impact on her life. She says, " I've been blessed with an amazing role model in my father who was a choir director for 33 years and the reason I'm teaching today is because of him and then my middle school choir director so those 2 people have been huge influences on me."
Among all of the students' extracurricular activities Miss Gulsvig takes part in, she's also the D.J. for the school dances.
She's also been known to dig into her own wallet if one of her students can't afford something for the show choir.
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