Spotlight: Yoon Kim, McNeill Elementary

Mr. Yoon Kim is Kindergarten teacher at McNeill.  Mr. Kim is known for not letting his students move along to the next grades without keeping contact with them. He keeps up with his students by creating after-school clubs to continue working with them throughout their school years. This year, he began teaching his entire class for two hours after school in all subjects; just for the enjoyment of watching their skills continuously flourish. In his after-school club, he teaches art and drama that helps foster each student’s individual strengths.  He has also created an additional club for fourth and fifth grade students, meeting twice a week, for two hours each time. This club is a Media, Cinema, and Arts Club, where he teaches his students all aspects of: screenwriting, storyboards, camera, lighting, sound production, and acting.  The club’s last movie, which reflected student voices and their viewpoints of the world around them, was recently recognized at a school district board meeting.

Additionally, Mr. Kim records videos and creates photographs for social media for his campus.  Annually, he creates hundreds of 5th grade professional student portraits and gives them as gifts for the departing 5th graders. He also creates beautiful, professional portraits of his kindergarten students every year. All his projects are gifts for his students. He has created many innovative activities, including a poetry contest for the entire school to participate in. What has made Mr. Kim more deserving of this honor, is that he has continued to meet with his clubs virtually throughout this pandemic, while simultaneously continuing to teach his kindergarten class. He is a teacher that does not allow obstacles get in his way of teaching.

Mr. Kim was also the recipient of a grant that was used to purchase sound recording equipment. This allowed him to initiate the first podcasting club in the district. His fifth-grade podcasting students had begun working on a competition to enter a national podcasting event before the crisis. His students committed many hours of work into this contest, including research and practice on how to use the equipment. Their competition was interrupted because of the pandemic, but Mr. Kim continued to meet with them virtually twice a week. The students were successful in creating their very first quality podcast and were able to submit it by the original deadline proposed.

In addition, Mr. Kim also creates video projects for the entire district that share information within the schools’ communities. Last year, he was able to document a truly innovative district program that incorporated technology, music, art, and core subjects in a camp-like atmosphere. It took place during the summer and was an inclusive learning opportunity for both parents and students.  His videos created much excitement for both teachers and families to participate in this program.