Mr. Philip Katz

Mr. Philip Katz

Betty Ann Spigel was born November 4, 1950, to Abraham 0. and Dorothy Aronson Spigel in Boston, Massachusetts. Betty was a middle child, with an older brother Paul, and a younger brother Marc. Betty was first educated in the Boston Public Schools, and later attended the Newton, MA Public Schools, graduating from Newton South High School in 1968.

Betty attended the University of Massachusetts-Boston for freshman year, and transferred to the Amherst campus for her final three years. At Amherst she began dating a good friend of her brother Paul, Phil Katz. The romance blossomed, and on August 29, 1971 they were married. Betty graduated in May 1972 with a BA in Elementary Education.

Betty always knew she wanted to be an elementary school teacher. She did her student teaching in the Amherst, MA and Concord, MA public school systems. In September 1972 she began her teaching career as a second grade teacher in Concord, MA, where she taught both second and third grades. Betty left teaching after the 1977-78 school year to be a full time mother to her sons Gregg, born October 1978, and Matthew, born February 1981.

Betty returned to teaching as a part-time Title 1 teacher in the Framingham, MA School System when Matthew began first grade. Her colleagues and superiors recognized her special talents and asked her to train to be a Reading Recovery teacher in the Framingham School System. 1994-95 was a year of intense study and training to complete the program.

Reading Recovery is a school-based, short-term intervention designed for children in first grade who are the lowest achieving in literacy based on standardized testing at the beginning of the school year. Before the intervention, these children are often not able to read the simplest of books or write their own name. Reading Recovery involves intensive one-to-one lessons for 30 minutes a day for between 12 and 20 weeks. Betty was masterful in helping children build on their strengths, and achieved an amazing success rate with her Reading Recovery students. After starting as the lowest achieving readers, over 90% of her students finished first grade at or above grade level.

Betty formally retired in December 2010 when the Reading Recovery program was terminated due to budgetary issues, but continued working part-time in the literacy center at Barbieri and Brophy Schools. The literacy center at Brophy Elementary School in Framingham is named in her honor.

Betty loved her students and was devoted to teaching. She changed the lives of her students and remained in touch with many of them. Her family, friends and colleagues recall that Betty always had a smile, boundless energy, optimism and the stamina to work diligently and tirelessly to make the world a better place, one child at a time.

Salutation for thank you letter: Mr. Philip Katz