HOLMEN, Wis. (WKBT) -- - For one Prairie View Elementary School 4th grade teacher, learning is more than a test score. This month's Top Notch Teacher is always looking to challenge her students both inside and outside the classroom.
Prairie View Elementary's Chastity Casey has shown a passion for learning for 18 years.
"The rewards definitely outweigh the challenges," Casey said. "I love Holmen."
Casey wants to motivate her students with a challenge.
"Having high expectations for them, I think they perform better," Casey said. "They want to be here and we challenge each other. We are all teachers in here."
Some of her students said they take notice.
"I feel happy about it and I feel like no one is going to judge you if you get something wrong," said Jocelyn Williams, one of Casey's students.
Casey said everyone helps one another improve.
"We are on a team and we are pushing each other and we are learning from each other," Casey said. "That's why we have partners and teams. That's how we find success."
She said grades are not the whole story.
"It's not about a test score," Casey said. "It's about showing improvement and gains as a learner."
Casey said her class learned a lot when one of her students lost her home to a fire.
"We took a bad situation and made it into a good situation," Casey said.
She said her class came together asking what they could do to help.
Prairie View student Paula Barlow said everyone supports each other.
"We are all family," Paula said. "It feels like a classroom family."
Casey said that day made her students and herself better people.
"I think each and every one of my students grew from that experience," Casey said. "Just having them come together and putting her needs first. It was like, wow, this is more important than math and science."
She said she is proud of her students.
"We have an amazing group of compassionate children in here," Casey said.
Mrs. Casey's teaching extends outside the classroom with an after-school wellness program for girls called Forever We Run.
Jocelyn said it's great to have a teacher who cares about students outside the classroom.
"To have it out of the classroom and having her be there outside of the classroom with students is awesome," Jocelyn said.
The goal is to inspire young girls to have a positive self-image and the confidence to run a 5K.
"It was so heart-warming and my staff stepped up and volunteered and last year we were up to 50 girls in grades four and five," Casey said.
She says a positive lifestyle makes all the difference.
"We can't learn if we can't get past our emotions," Casey said.
Her desire to teach shows no finish line.
"I love it. This is a great group of kids," Casey said.
Casey said the first year of the Forever We Run program had more than 30 girls in grades four and five participate. This past year that number increased to 50.
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