Carderock Springs Elementary School, Bethesda
As a kindergarten teacher,
Christine Batky’s job is to help young
children find their footing while navigating a full day of learning away from
home. It’s no small task, and one that
Batky, with a singsong voice and nurturing disposition, embraces.
Each morning, students eagerly wait
for her outside the classroom door.
“They are always so excited when I greet
them,” she says. “That’s the favorite part
of my day.”
Batky, 26, believes kindergarten is
a time when no milestone is too small
to celebrate—even learning to count to
100. Her students count the first 100
school days as part of their daily ritual.
On the 100th day, they each bring in 100
small objects of their choosing, write
stories about what they would do with
$100 and sing songs. “It’s a big day for
them,” Batky explains.
It’s that understanding of her students
that makes Batky so effective, Principal
Rock Palmisano says. “Every day, the
message she gives her students is…we
have important things to do here, and
I’m your partner in learning,” he says.
Potomac parent Sarah Graf says her
children, Ryan, 7, and Emma, 6, thrived
under Batky even though Ryan is
reserved and Emma is an extrovert. “She
does a great job of hooking kids into lik-
ing school,” Graf says. “She was such a
great fit for both my children.”
Raised in Ellicott City, Batky became
a kindergarten teacher at Carderock
Springs in 2009 after graduating with
a degree in early childhood education
from Towson University. She earned
her master’s in special education from
Towson at the Universities at Shady
Grove while teaching full time.
Pride of authorship is a lesson Batky
teaches students early on. “All year long
I refer to them as authors and illustra-
tors,” she says. Students create their own
books, and often read them to their par-
ents during an Author’s Tea in May. “It
makes them feel their work is impor-
tant…[that] writing is exciting,” she says.
Graf, who attended the annual tea
twice, says she marveled at the progress
students had made during the school
year. Batky “instills in them that sense
of excitement and accomplishment,”