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Schools Last Updated: May 22, 2013 - 2:41:24 PM


And the Golden Apple goes to ... DIS teacher Jennifer Kulp!
By Jennifer Johnston
May 22, 2013 - 2:38:04 PM

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After just learning that the nomination she submitted had been chosen by Live 5 News, third-grader Bella Ullo presents Ms. Kulp with the Golden Apple Award.
The class receives direction from Live 5 crew as Bella's parents Eva and Vincent prep their own A/V.
Third-grade teacher and Golden Apple recipient Jennifer Kulp poses with her inspired student Bella Ullo.
Ms. Kulp's entire third-grade crew gives her a well-deserved round of applause.

You’ve probably heard of the Golden Globes, which recognize excellence in production and performance in on-screen entertainment. But have you heard of the Golden Apples, which recognize awesomeness in creative instruction and smartie-pants development in the classroom? Well, you have now. And so has Jennifer Kulp, a third-grade teacher at Daniel Island School who was surprised to receive the last “Live 5 Bi-Lo Golden Apple Award” of the 2012-13 school year.
Golden Apple recipients are nominated by their own students, and it was one of Kulp’s young Language Arts and Social Studies students, Bella Ullo, who secretly threw the teacher’s hat in the ring. Bella had seen a WCSC Live 5 News commercial seeking nominations for the Golden Apples, which honor educators who have truly changed the lives of their students. This hit home with Bella, who transferred just this year to DIS from a private school.
Bella’s parents, Eva and Vincent, tell us that their daughter’s transition to a new school was nerve-wracking, but that Kulp eased the anxiety and welcomed Bella into her lively learning space from day one. “Every day when we walk home, Bella has the most wonderful stories from school,” Eva shares. “The kids rarely have books to bring home, because so much of what they learn in Ms. Kulp’s class uses songs and music instead.”
It is a teaching style that has captivated Kulp’s students, particularly Bella.
So when she saw the call-out for Golden Apple nominations, Eva recalls Bella gasping, “Mom, I have to do this for Ms. Kulp!”
She wrote in to the news station, reporting not only her teacher’s wonderful out-of-the-box approach to lessons, but also the way in which Bella has observed Kulp relating to other students in the classroom. Bella has been deeply inspired by the patience and thoughtfulness that is delivered to her peers on a daily basis, and has a strong hunch that she might want to follow in those footsteps. She’s even transformed the Ullo’s upstairs into a small school, complete with ABC’s along the wall, a white mock “smartboard” and, of course, the music needed to innovatively carry out a lesson. “One of Bella’s friends has set up a classroom up there with her,” Eva explains. “So they are team-teaching!”
For weeks Bella awaited a reply from Live 5 News. Knowing the end of the academic year was fast approaching, the Ullos wondered if maybe it just wasn’t in the cards this time around. But on the evening of May 15, Eva received a phone call from DIS informing her that a WCSC crew would be at the school the following day to surprise Ms. Kulp and Bella.
It is not unusual for Ms. Kulp to show up at her students’ various performances and special events around town; she is the kind of teacher who wants to celebrate those successes outside the classroom, too. So it was a terrific twist for her third-graders to bear witness as Bella and DIS principal Marty French presented Ms. Kulp with the Live 5 Bi-Lo Golden Apple Award while the news crew captured it all for the evening news. “I don’t have any words!” admitted a shocked Jennifer Kulp. “The reasons I love teaching are all sitting in this classroom.”
But she did reserve an extra big squeeze for her little nominator. “She’s the kindest teacher, and she teaches us through song and movement,” Bella beamed. “She’s the best teacher ever.”

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