With a passion for education, longtime teacher Pam Cronovich has created programs to help children develop essential learning skills
By Rachel Pepe
Photography by Hayden Stinebaugh
From teaching to advocating for kindergarten readiness, Pam Cronovich is a trailblazer in education.
Cronovich, 66, has been kindergarten teacher at Kerby Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Farms the past 35 years.
Her passion developed when she attended the University of Michigan for her undergrad to become a pediatric doctor. After volunteering with special education children, she discovered a love for teaching.
Cronovich, a Rochester Hills resident, began working in special education and stayed in this specialty for 10 years. She has taught students from preschool to high school.
“I started a program for self-contained upper elementary, emotionally-impaired children and that group moved the following year to junior high and I moved with them,” Cronovich says.
After taking a leave of absence to work concurrently on two master’s degrees — learning disabilities at Eastern Michigan University and social work at U-M — she returned to Grosse Pointe Farms and set up a program for learning disabled children.
The experience made her the perfect candidate for a teacher consultant, where she traveled to multiple buildings to work with other teachers and students.
When Cronovich moved on to teach kindergarten, her goal was to provide students with a foundation to develop the learning skills they need to grow.
She says she has taught 1,000 kindergartners, and the kids have taught her as well.
“Five-year-olds really are magical,” Cronovich explains. “They are so ready to learn, and you have the chance, at the kindergarten level, to set a path for school success and for a love of learning because you’re not only teaching the skills, you’re teaching them how to learn and how to make connections
with what they are learning.”
From 2013 to 2015, Cronovich was a feature speaker on kindergarten readiness for The Family Center, a nonprofit in Grosse Pointe Farms. When Common Core academic standards were introduced nationwide, Cronovich says there was some confusion.
“(Preschools) and parents were not on board yet with what kind of readiness skills their children would need for kindergarten,” Cronovich says.
Through the center, she developed kindergarten readiness programs with other kindergarten grade level leaders and worked with parents. This role has allowed Cronovich to make the community more aware of the steps needed to prepare children for their education.
“I feel that I’ve been giving the community a positive look on education,” Cronovich adds, “and I can be a positive role model for other teachers.”