In six years, Kelley Forsberg has been a paraprofessional, a co-teacher and a teacher in second-grade classrooms at HLA-Morris Park. An early riser, she often gets to school early to plan her day and get ready for the first scholars to arrive. “I love our mornings together,” she said. “I get to check in with each scholar and have a little fun with them. We start the day like a little family.”

Kelley makes a point to create fun and a little weirdness in her classroom. For mathketball — a math competition among scholars — she kicks off each lesson with Let’s Get Ready to Rumble from Jock Jams soundtrack. She pretends she is an announcer getting ready for a basketball game. “The kids love it, but I also sort of do it for myself,” she said.

Hiawatha is unique, she says, because of the support of the people around her. The second-grade teachers have a designated prep every week when she they can meet as a team, bounce ideas off one another and brainstorm ways to improve their lessons. They also eat lunch together every day in what they call a no-work zone. “It is important that we get to know each other beyond the classroom,” she said.

This next school year, Kelley is excited to get to know a new classroom of scholars and see her former scholars grow up into seventh grade. As Hiawatha network is growing, Kelley feels fortunate to have the opportunity to see her former scholars continue on their path to college.

Kelley and her husband celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary this summer, which she mostly spent relaxing. Time is short, she says, so she tries not to pack too much in the breaks. She always finds time for shopping, which is her favorite hobby. Almost every Saturday she meets her mom for lunch and a new shopping adventure.