Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013

Peter Bergstrom helping a student on the computer

Peter Bergstrom talking to a group of students in a classroomThe State Board of Education has recognized Peter Bergstrom, a long-time volunteer at Simpsonville Elementary, as the 2013 SBE Individual Volunteer of the Year.

Mr. Peter, as he is lovingly known, unselfishly gives his time to each child he tutors, creating encouraging and supportive relationships with students at Simpsonville Elementary School.  Mr. Peter arrives at 7:00 every morning to set up 32 computers for the math tutorial program. At 7:15 his welcoming smile greets students who need tutoring in math skills or English fluency.

Mr. Peter works with 4th and 5th grade ESOL students and other students to reinforce math facts and concepts.  Through his active involvement on the School Improvement Council, he encouraged administrators to initiate a "Math Race" which challenged students to learn math facts. This initiative quickly caught on and his efforts to improve math proficiency have resulted in steadily improving scores on the PACT and PASS math tests.

Not only is Mr. Peter committed to helping students achieve in math, he also focuses on their success in science. He developed interactive PowerPoint lessons for 5th graders on DNA and cell structure, which presented rigorous concepts in a student-friendly manner.  He volunteered to judge the school's Science Bee which encourages development in science vocabulary and concepts. As a result, PASS science scores have shown continuing improvement.

While Mr. Peter is a mentor and inspiration to students, his presence and passion have permeated the staff and parents at Simpsonville Elementary. He contributed to writing the school's Red Carpet Schools application and readily shares ideas for school improvement after carefully and quietly studying students' needs. Teachers at Simpsonville appreciate Mr. Peter as an ally in their efforts to meet each student's needs and as he continues to serve students when they transition from elementary to middle school.

When Mr. Peter retired as an engineer with Fluor, his son counseled him to be creative.  He has remarkably demonstrated his creativity through many years of volunteer service with the Greenville Literacy Association, the National Park Service, and Simpsonville Elementary School.

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