Degrees and Certifications:
BA English BA Elementary Education MA Elementary Education (CIFS for GT)
Mrs. Leah Thayer
I was born in Boise and have lived in the area all my life, except for my years at the University of Idaho. I left a career in the tech industry to become a teacher because I wanted a challenging, rewarding career where I could make a difference (boy, have I found it!). I have bachelor's degrees in English and elementary education, and a master's degree focusing on curriculum and instruction for gifted and talented students. I continue to take classes to stay connected to the most current research and have attended the EduFest conference for gifted & talented education regularly for the past 10 years or so. This year marks my fifth year teaching self-contained GT, my third year at Discovery, and my 17th year of teaching overall. I'm the mom of three girls.
I'm passionate about my students' academic growth and independence. My classroom is known for being unlike any other, because with motivated and responsible learners I can push boundaries of what elementary classrooms can look like and do. In previous years, I've taken on long-term community outreach and hands-on science projects that gave students skills and experiences they wouldn't have gotten in a typical fifth grade - and still use. Each year brings new possibilities for unique projects and I can't wait to see what we can do in each new school year.
I'm very fortunate to have been a part of the small team that took the fifth grade curricula and recreated them for the West Ada Self-Contained GT program. We have our own priority standards and a specialized report card to match. That way, fifth grade standards can be taught with the depth and complexity that encourages productive struggle in this special population. We also have additional science and social/emotional learning components that regular fifth grade classes do not, and those areas are often some of the most powerful learning my students get in their journey as they grow from fourth graders to sixth graders.