Resource Coordinator, Silver Springs—Martin Luther SchoolAlthough often attempted, few people are able to successfully join their passion with their profession. Frank Russo has achieved just such a goal. Even as a child, Frank notes, "I always wanted to be a teacher. If you look back to things that I did when I was in elementary school, even then I often said that I wanted to be a teacher and I did finally become one in 1974. After graduating from Temple University, I taught fourth grade in the parochial schools for a number of years, then moved to Fairfax County, Virginia, and found a job with Fairfax County Schools. Eight years later I moved to Wilmington, Delaware, and began looking for a teaching job in the area. That's when I located a part-time position for a reading teacher at the Silver Springs—Martin Luther School (in 1992)." Silver Springs was founded as an orphanage in 1859. Opened in 1969, Martin Luther School provides an individualized program designed to meet the special education needs of emotionally disturbed students ages five through fourteen in grades K–8, promoting trauma recovery and family reunification in a nurturing and healing environment. Shortly after joining the Silver Springs faculty, Frank was given a full-time position. "I have been here for nineteen years, first as the reading teacher and then in the math program. My current position is Lead Teacher and head of the school Resource Room. I select and order materials, investigate field trips, and find other outside activities to enhance the school curriculum. We have everything here in the Resource Room from math manipulatives to equipment for science experiments to materials for music and art." Supervising the Resource Room also allows him to combine his knowledge of local American history (gained in part from his activity as a founding member of the Wissahickon Historical Society in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania) with the larger world of Americana. "Most of my hobbies revolve around collecting, and I do use my personal interests to connect with my kids. I'm a historian by nature and I collect things of everyday life from about 1700 to the mid-1800s." Many of his treasures of Americana are collected in a small museum for students, located near the Resource Room. Despite all of his other responsibilities Frank still works directly with students, who see him not only as a collector but as a storyteller and lively conveyor of times past. "By sharing artifacts from my personal collections, whether from F. W. Woolworth stores or personal things like dishes, silverware, primers, books and documents, textiles, and artwork from children and adults whose lives were vastly different from their own, I can advance their understanding beyond the textbook. I can help them gain a living, breathing, tactile appreciation for the many local and national treasures that Pennsylvania and America have to offer."
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