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Hemme Selected as a 2022 Regional TOY Honoree

Erin Hemme 2022 Regional Teacher of the Year HonorreeJuly 7, 2022 - Congratulations to Erin Hemme, who has been selected as a 2022 Regional Teacher of the Year Honoree by EducationPlus and the St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center! She has been a teacher at the Ladue Early Childhood Center for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) for the past six years.
Hemme, who was SSD’s 2021 Teacher of the Year, is one of 10 teachers who will represent the region for Missouri Teacher of the Year. These regional honorees will submit their applications to the Missouri State Teacher of the Year program. The Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE) will then select a Missouri Teacher of the Year in October 2022. The Missouri Teacher of the Year will automatically become a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year honor.
The Teacher of the Year program recognizes and honors the contributions of the classroom teacher as no one has a greater impact on the education of a child than a teacher who creates a learning environment where children flourish and grow. The mission of the Missouri Teacher of the Year program is to honor, promote and celebrate excellence in the teaching profession.

Hemme structures the school day around teaching and learning language for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). She uses many techniques, including teaching behaviors, diagnostic language instruction, formative data collection, language improvement strategies, planning and instruction, team communication, the intervention pyramid, instructional resources, and an individualized education plan (IEP) goal bank.

She provides a language‐rich environment by narrating activities and events, turn-taking in adult‐child interactions, intentional prompting to use targeted language repeatedly, and consistent follow-through leading to desired language use. She uses a naturalistic approach, teaching priority learning targets for each child in the content of ongoing activities, routines, and transitions of inclusive preschool classrooms.

Another huge component to Hemme’s instruction is vocabulary acquisition. Students who enter the DHH program frequently have scant language and/or vocabulary. To address this gap, she has developed a bank of activities and more than 350 photos and vocabulary words. All students in her classes experience steady improvement in language skills.

Structuring IEP goals is a challenging but critical role of the DHH staff, but Hemme has devised a formula to create customized language goals for students using progress monitoring tools, data, and student performance. To get information they need to support these goals, she teaches paraprofessionals to collect specific data on spontaneous language and to model and elicit more language from students. Parents are kept in the loop about their child’s learning experiences through her daily blog.

When speaking about her work and her students’ progress, Hemme is passionate and enthusiastic! Her coaching helps families continue the hard work of developing language at home.