Elementary (Grades 1-6)

The elementary program (Grades 1-6) builds on the established elementary foundation and provides more advanced training in essential middle school subject areas.  Students are encouraged to establish responsible, independent work skills and ethics and to develop time-management skills. Students learn respect and compassion for their classmates.  Students are encouraged to take advantage of the numerous extracurricular opportunities AAA offers to middle grade students.

Grade 1

The Grade 1 program lays the foudation for a successful elementary experience.  The essential first grade reading skills are presented through the Pathways reading program, Writers' Workshop, and VoWac phonics. Mathematics concepts are enhanced through the use of manipulatives and practice drills. Science, social studies, physical education, and music round out the curriculum.  Socially first graders mature in their understanding of teamwork through participation in group activities.

Erline BurgessMA Early Childhood Education, M.Ed Education, BS Secondary Education and Home Economics

Endorsements: Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Home Economics

Biographical Information

When Mrs. Erline Burgess joined the Atholton faculty six years ago, she brought a wealth of diverse knowledge and experience from her 38 years of teaching in the Chesapeake Conference.  Coming to Atholton brought her back to teaching in her favorite area of teaching—first grade.  “They keep me young,” she says.  Ironically, pretending to be a first and second grade teacher was one of her favorite childhood games. 

Whether teaching a breadmaking class to a group of young students or teaching Testing and Measurements at Washington Adventist University students, Mrs. Burgess "feels at home."  She holds an advanced certificate in the Gesell assessment and often shares her talents with other schools throughout the conference by testing students to help determine their educational needs.  Her past experience working for education specialists at the National Institute of Health has been an invaluable resource when working with students who have learning challenges. Her philosophy of education shines through when one observes her encouraging a student to take their time and think. "Education should be a journey and not a race," she says.

Professional growth is important to Mrs. Burgess.  In the past she has served on the Curriculum Committee and the Executive Committee for the Chesapeake Conference. Currently she is a member on the  Advisory Committee for the Journal of Education. She also worked on committees that developed the pre-first curriculum and the new English curriculum for the North American Division.

Blessed with the gift of listening, Mrs. Burgess makes parents and colleagues feel comfortable when they have questions or concerns regarding their child's education needs. She is always willing to create new avenues to teach a math concept or reading skill. Mrs. Burgess was awarded the Zapara Award for outstanding teaching in the classroom. She is also a member of the Who's Who of America's Teachers.

Mrs. Burgess, who happens to be an identical twin, enjoys listening to uplifting Christian music, reading, crocheting, scrapbooking, sewing, and vacationing with family. She loves traveling across the US in their RV.

Anita Minty MI Instruction, BS Elementary Education

Endorsements: Elementary Education, Reading Specialist, Jr. Academy Religion

Biographical Information

Anita Minty grew up always knowing she wanted to be a teacher. She spent hours as a child playing school in a corner of her room, using every spare piece of paper she could find. In fact, her preschool teacher predicted Mrs. Minty would become a teacher.

At school Mrs. Minty enjoys getting to know her students and their families. She enjoys watching her young ones tackle something difficult and feels just as excited as her students when she observes the "Ah Ha!" moment when they finally get it. Mrs. Minty believes in positive reinforcement and strives to bring out the best in each student. She wants her students to have a safe, Christian, comfortable environment in which to learn.

Professionally, Mrs. Minty is a member of the International Reading Association and likes to keep abreast of new concepts and teaching strategies by reading The Reading Teacher journal each month.  She feels that keeping up with the latest research is so important to being a teacher of excellence.

Mrs. Minty was born in New Jersey, but grew up north of Philadelphia, PA. She was one of four siblings in a close-knit family. She currently lives in Eldersburg, MD with her husband, one of the treasurers with Chesapeake Conference, and her son Nate. Her stepdaughter Jordyn, a former Atholton Adventist Academy student, completed an elementary education/special education degree from Towson University.

Mrs. Minty enjoys many activities and hobbies outside of the classroom. Some of her favorite things are exercising, walking, scrapbooking, reading, biking, and gardening.She loves going to the beach, especially Cape May Point in New Jersey. She claims the best way to relax is with "the beach and a book!"

"God has always led me and guided my every decision," says Mrs. Minty. "Philippians 4:13 is my favorite text. 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me'."

 

Grade 2

The Grade 2 program introduces students to their first structured classroom experience.  Strong emphasis is placed on language arts and mathematics.  Hands-on materials, such as manipulatives, puppets, classroom pets, and shared classroom responsibilities/jobs are used to facilitate learning and to provide individual attention to specific developmental and learning preferences.  Memory verses, Bible stories, and sacred music round out the second grade curriculum

Karen CerioneBS (Master’s equivalent) Education

Endorsements: Professional Certificate, Elementary Education, Reading, and Jr. Academy Fine Arts

Biographical Information

Mrs. Cerione loves teaching elementary students.  In fact, she says, "God put me in teaching."  She worked as a dental assistant for many years before God led her to her true calling - teaching.  Mrs. Cerione loves teaching grades 1 and 2 and first taught those grades in beautiful Grants Pass, Oregon. She loves using project-based learning to actively engage her students. You will often see her students' work displayed along the hallways, such as a variety of science demonstrations or a series of rock collections. "I love teaching because I am able to entice students to come to the water hole of knowledge and to the Living Water. "

Mrs. Cerione's science interest carries through other parts of her life.  She enjoys visiting places like Saint Thomas, Carlsbad Caverns, Yellowstone National Park, Redwoods National Park, Yosemite National Park, Monument Valley, and Grand Canyon National Park.  Even her favorite quote - "God's promises are like the stars; the darker the night the brighter they shine" - shows her love of science.

Mrs. Cerione enjoys reading, especially biographies, historical Christian novels, and true animal stories.  Her favorite authors include Max Lucado, Ellen G. White, and Gary Richmond.  Musically, her tastes are varied, including a love of guitar, saxophone, southern gospel, and contemporary Christian music.  In her spare time, she enjoys sewing, crafts, drawing, singing karaoke, and playing the piano, saxophone, or mandolin (but only at home).

Grade 3

The Grade 3 program transitions students from the primary grades into the middle grade environment.  Curriculum demands are increased with a strong continuing emphasis on language arts and mathematics.  The Pathways reading program and the Writers' Workshop provide the foundation for the language arts curriculm.  Through individual work and group activities students learn responsibility - personal, academic, and social.  Through the I Am God's Kid! program, students experience positive reinforcement from their peers that they are truly God's kid.  Caring for classroom pets is an exciting integral part of the third grade experience.

Monique HydeBS Human Movement and Elementary Education

Endorsements: Elementary Education, Physical Education K-12, Jr. Academy Bible

Biographical Information

As anyone who knows Monique Hyde would agree, she is a teacher able to touch her students’ hearts in a unique and powerful way. Her “I Am God’s Kid!” program, which she developed, guides students to learn their value in the eyes of their Father Creator.  Mrs. Hyde says, “I have a passion to teach and a love for children.  As I teach I will help each student discover his or her vast potential, thus empowering them with endless opportunities to touch the lives of others.”  This is the philosophy that guides her teaching. 

Mrs. Hyde’s talents extend outside the classroom. She loves swimming and over the years has lifeguarded and taught swimming and various aquatics classes such as canoeing and kayaking.  She is an American Red Cross Instructor for Lifeguard Training, Community First Aid, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, and Water Safety.  Besides working at YMCA and other fitness centers, Mrs. Hyde has enjoyed putting her skills to good use directing aquatic activities at Laurel Lake Camp in Pennsylvania, Camp Blue Ridge in Virginia, Camp Heritage in Missouri, and Indian Creek Camp in Tennessee. 

 Mrs. Hyde has served as a gymnastics coach at each of the schools where she has taught. After coming to AAA she felt our athletic program just wasn’t complete without a gymnastics team so she began the Aerial Jagz.

 Besides her love for water sports and gymnastics, Mrs. Hyde loves to spend time with family outdoors in God’s nature. She loves biking, hiking, rock climbing, camping, hockey, and reptiles.  When Mrs. Hyde is not engaged in some athletic hobby, she may sit down and read a good book from Max Lucado’s Wemmick series, watch a good nature or Bible film like Planet Earth, or listen to contemporary Christian and praise and worship music.

Grade 4

The Grade 4 program encourages students to experience school by actively particpating in the learning process.  A positive, uplifting classroom environment enables students to reach their individual potential, develop a strong sense of responsibility, demonstrate Christianity, and make strides in their academic growth.  Establishing a solid academic foundation and developing responsible work habits in preparation for middle school are major goals of fourth grade.

Veronica CooperBS, Language Arts for Elementary Education

Endorsements: Elementary Education; Reading; Jr. Academy: Bible, English, Mathematics, Social Studies; Montessori Diploma—Early Childhood

Biographical Information

Ms. Cooper is from the United Kingdom. She attended Hackney College and Westminster College before coming to the US, where she also received college training at Andrews University. Prior to her professional career as a teacher, Ms. Cooper served as a legal/paralegal secretary.  She brings her eye for details to her classroom where she pushes her students to question and explore. In fact, her favorite quote is "It is better to be a fool for a minute than a fool for life!"

 

Ms. Cooper loves to read and also stresses the importance of reading with her fourth graders.  Many of her favorite authors are those whom her students enjoy as well. Students also get to know Ms. Cooper’s love of the artistic. “I’m artsy,” she says. “I love anything that pertains to the arts: interior design, painting, sculpture, writing, drama.”

 

This love of hers, not only takes Ms. Cooper to museums, it also takes her shopping. She loves the mall and she love quaint and charming shopping districts. Stores are wonderful places to discover creativity. It follows well that Ms. Copper enjoys traveling. She has been to many places in France, the United Kingdom, and Jamaica. Her bucket list of travel adventures includes visiting all 50 US states and the Seven Wonders of the World. Her number one goal I life, however, is to extend a personal invitation to each of her students to “run the race” of life with Jesus.

 

Grade 5

The Grade 5 program helps students become active, engaged learners, building on the skills and knowledge that have been learned in the early elementary years. Students are encouraged to think critically, be creative, and show respect for God, self, and others. The manner of instruction – motivation, grouping, pacing, reinforcing, and re-teaching – is determined by the teacher in order to meet individual student needs. Expectations are modified or expanded to meet student needs and abilities.  Field trips and outdoor school provide hands-on learning to reinforce classroom curriculum. 

Julia Di BiaseBA Psychology, Licensure K-8

Endorsements: Elementary Education; Kindergarten; Jr. Academy: Bible, English, History, Science

Biographical Information

Ms. Di Biase is one of Atholton’s only home-grown Maryland teachers. She attended several Chesapeake and Potomac Conference schools where her mother taught. Ms. DiBiase was the kind of student who rushed through her work in order to bury her nose in a good book. She also wrote lots of her own stories and actually finished an entire book in ninth grade.

Her lifelong dream has been to live on a piece of property big enough to accommodate a horse. She has always been in love with horses and as a girl collected hundreds of Breyer horse statuettes. As a college student she worked during the summer as a cowboy camp counselor and wrangler at Leoni Meadows Camp in Grizzly Flats, CA.

 

Ms. DiBiase received her college education at Southern Adventist University. After graduation she came to Atholton and has been here ever since. She also has a dramatic flair and a keen wit. In her creative moments she composes music, writes stories and verse, and plays the guitar (country & Christian especially).  In fact, her school day with her students often begins with music - Ms. Di Biase leading and her students singing along with her. These skills are often combined in classroom instruction or Drama Club scripts.

 

When she gets a chance to travel, Ms. Di Biase often heads west to the desert areas of North America - such places as Bryce Canyon, Zion, or Grand Canyon National Parks.  She has also visited Yosemite National Park and Mono Lake. She eventually hopes to travel to all 50 states in the US.

When asked about her teaching, she stated "I love the 'light bulb' moment when a student finally understands a concept, and they are excited about it. I appreciate teaching at a Christian school because I can share my faith and the hope that Jesus brings into our lives."

Grade 6

The Grade 6 program builds on the middle school skills learned the previous year. Students continue to develop research and study skills, broaden math competencies, and expand social skills through classroom activities and assigned responsibilities. Required outside reading and creative writing enhance the language arts curriculum. Service-oriented projects help develop a sense of stewardship through community outreach. Field trips and outdoor school provide hands-on learning to reinforce classroom curriculum. 

Linda BatesMAT Elementary Education, BS Elementary Education, BS Home Economics

Endorsements: Elementary Education; Home Economics; Special Education; Jr. Academy: Bible, Social Studies, Science, English, Physical Education

Biographical Information

Linda Bates holds the distinction of the longest tenured employee of Atholton Adventist Academy. She served the school as principal from 1987-1996 and then remained on as a teacher for the past 16 years.  She also holds the distinction of being the teacher who travels the farthest distance to work each day - approximately 165 miles roundtrip a day from Martinsburg, WV to Columbia, MD.

Mrs. Bates completed her undergraduate education degree at Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University) and her masters degree at Andrews University.  She has obtained endorsements in multiple areas of instruction by taking additional classwork at universities in Arizona, Colorado, and Kansas.  She has also taught multiple grades in many different venues - Mount Aetna Elementary, Highland View Academy, Thunderbird Adventist Academy, Midland Adventist, Boulder Jr. Academy, Boulder Memorial Hospital, Martin Barr School, and Atholton Adventist Academy.

Mrs. Bates is an avid sports person, whether watching from the couch or participating in the activity herself.  She enjoys watching Major League Baseball, NFL (AFC), Tennis, NASCAR, Hockey, Basketball, and the Olympics.  She loves outdoor activities, such as biking, walking, camping, riding 4-wheelers, and school field trips and activities.  She has hang glided and parachuted, and, at Mt. Aetna, she is known as the oldest person who still goes up the climbing wall and rides down the zip line.

She enjoys reading from a wide variety of genre.  Some of her favorite authors are Max Lucado, Dwight Nelson,  and Kingsberry. She also loves sharing stories with her students.

Mrs. Bates has traveled widely, visiting such places as Honduras, Newfoundland, Labrador, all 50 states in the US, and Puerto Rico. She also visited the Pentagon, the White House, and the US Capitol.

Enrichment Activities - Elementary

Grades 1-2 use computers within the classroom to augment classroom instruction and provide additional practice for reading, math, and other curricular areas.  They also receive Spanish and Music instruction twice a week.  Musical highlights of the year include the annual Christmas program and Strawberry Festival performances.  Students participate in Physical Education daily.

Grades 3-6 receive computer, Spanish, and music instruction twice a week.  The music program provides exploration of various musical media, such as recorders, hand chimes, and world drumming.  Musical highlights of the year include the annual Christmas program and Strawberry Festival performances.  Students participate in Physical Education daily.

During the elementary years, an enriched math track allows students who excel in math to move ahead in their math instruction.  All math classes in Grades 3-6 are scheduled at the same time of day so that students may cross grade lines to receive math instruction that is most in line with their skill set.