Teacher appreciates student support
Moving to Lansing and becoming a full-time third-grade teacher at Lansing Elementary School couldn't have come at a better time for Cynthia Cioppa.
Cioppa and her family moved to the area in June 2006. Shortly thereafter, her husband, Col. Thomas Cioppa, was asked to transfer once again. After living in places such as Hawaii, Colorado, California and Rhode Island, her family was ready to settle down and make Lansing, a town they all love, their permanent home.
To do this, Col. Cioppa agreed to serve a duty in Iraq as an analyst on Gen. David Petraeus' staff. While this sacrifice was met with a grateful reception by his family, Cioppa said having her husband gone is one of the hardest things she's ever done.
Because of that, she has thrown herself into her work as a teacher and her children at home, Retha, a senior and Lansing High School, and Micah, a fourth-grader at LES, to take her mind off the absence in her family.
Cioppa said she and her husband, who will return from Iraq in May, always knew that they wanted to retire in Lansing. They had lived at Fort Leavenworth from 1993 to 1997 and fell in love with city's family-oriented atmosphere and the opportunity to be so close to both the Royals and Chiefs sports teams.
Besides staying busy with her own family and learning to take over responsibilities that her husband usually handled, such as cooking, Cioppa is enjoying her first year as a full-time teacher in Lansing.
She graduated with a liberal arts degree from Washington State University and worked in the travel industry before graduating with her Master's of Art in Teaching degree from Chapman University in 2001.
This year, with her third-grade class at LES, Cioppa said her goal is to make learning fun. She said her classrooms are always activity based to keep students interested. So far she said the year is going well.
"They are a very sweet group of kids," she said of her students. "I lucked out."
By keeping the students engaged through experiments and teaching skills to each other, Cioppa said she's managed to challenge her students to learn the most they can.
"If you expect a lot," she said, "they'll respond to those high expectations."
Everyday she said she is not only amazed at how smart her students are, but by the support they and their families have offered to her while her husband is away.