September 12, 2016.
Dear Kindergarten Families,
I’m a Grant mom of two girls. One is currently in the middle school at Grant, the other is in her senior year of high school. Both girls were in Mr. Martocchio’s kindergarten class. My youngest, Caroline, adjusted to life as a kindergartener easily, since thanks to her big sister she was exposed to Grant and Mr. Martocchio’s classroom from a young age. But for my first born, Annie, the transition from preschool to kindergarten was difficult. Annie had separation issues in preschool so I shouldn’t have been surprised they would continue in kindergarten. But her dad and I were not prepared for just how hard it would be — for her, for us, and for her teacher. Morning drop-offs were especially difficult as Annie would cling, cry and beg me not to leave. Even now I still remember how difficult it was to leave her at the classroom hearing her cry, walking away across the blacktop with tears streaming down my face as I kept saying over and over in my head, ‘don’t turn around, don’t turn around.’ It’s not that I just dropped her off and walked away; we went to school on time, had time to be together, hugged, did our special wave, everything to assure her that it was her special time for school and my time to go in the calmest way possible. But she still cried, a lot, and yelled for me to come back, which was really, really hard. Having a sensitive child is wonderful but exhausting, and kindergarten was a whirlwind or emotions for all of us. So why share all of this you? To tell you that it does get better, to assure you that your child is in competent and caring hands with Mr. Martocchio, to let you know that he will teach and guide your little one to places of academic and social excellence that will make you very proud. Despite a challenging start to the kindergarten year, I consider it one of the most important growth periods for my daughter. My teary, insecure little girl who cried and cried, over time, later became the student who would volunteer at kindergarten orientations to help kids who were feeling just like she did in years past. She became the kid that teachers turned to for help with other students in need, the student who would excel academically and socially, who would make good friends and compete in athletic and academic programs that would require her to face challenges without me by her side. My sensitive little girl is about to turn 18 and her busy life now includes college applications and preparing for a life away from home. And she is ready, both emotionally and intellectually. The little girl that clung to me with such panic and worry, is now a leader with an exciting future. So, for all of you parents with a little one starting kindergarten, when you walk away from the classroom at drop off have faith - it will get better. This stage is not forever, and you will someday long for the days when your child needed you in that way. It’s going to be okay, I promise.
Kindergarten is a great first start to teaching the kids responsibility for themselves. They are practicing remembering their backpack, belongings, and hopefully their weekly homework journal. (Don't we all keep practicing that?!) Mr. Martocchio treats the kids like independent, thoughtful beings, and keeps his expectations high. The kids all rise to meet them, and it is a pleasure to watch.
July 10, 2018.
We were so thrilled with our experience in Mr. Martocchio's K2 classroom. From the live plants on the tables to the freedom to snack or use the restroom as they needed, he kept a wonderful mature atmosphere for the kids to learn. His classroom was always neat to enter - kids playing chess or GO in one corner, others playing the piano or drums in another, and even others helping to clean or help a classmate at a table. I had to pinch myself that these were kindergartners! These kids learned manners, responsibility, and fairness. Everything we need to know, we would learn if we were all in Mr. Martocchio's kindergarten. Enjoy the year ahead!
-Christen Benke, DO
July 19, 2018.
We had the great fortune to have Mr. Martocchio as the teacher for both of our children, as he is the perfect instructor for inquisitive, self-directed individuals. By the time they were out of his class they were both reading above their grade levels, had learned about various scientific concepts and devices, and were playing musical instruments and complex games like chess and Go. The most impressive thing about his style is that he not only focuses on exposing students to a wide variety of tasks and ideas, but he teaches them how to approach coordinating and executing projects by themselves. From providing extra activities like cooking classes (which introduce basic skills that everyone can benefit from) to teaching the students how to organize the Winter and Spring shows (an incredible achievement showcasing many types of proficiencies), Mr. Martocchio's class offers a diverse and useful set of life skills in a setting that is fun and enriching for both the students and their parents.
Jennifer and Steven Gaughran
Parents of Gwinna and Sam Gaughran
July 25, 2018.
Our family had had the privilege to have Mr Martocchio teach both our children. Mr Martocchio is a very special, patient, talented, calm, creative and amazing kindergarten teacher. He has a way with the children like no other. There is a high level of respect that he has for the children and most importantly the children have for him. Both of my children (now going into 6th and 1st grade) talk about him in such a positive way. There are life moments he is very much a part of and always be. The pure excitement to talk about what they learn is priceless. We took a family trip to Washington DC this summer. Or daughter was beyond exited to see the Lincoln Memorial and National Monument because Mr Martocchio taught her all about it and the importance in our nations history (her words). When she walked up to see these landmarks in person she was beaming and asked to take a picture and send to Mr Martocchio right away, which we did. To share this moment with him is truly a moment we won’t forget! Not many teachers have that special place in their students heart and mind. But Mr Martocchio does. Any student and family is fortunate to have him create the foundation to their elementary journey.
July 25, 2018.
One word: Lucky. If you are fortunate enough to have your child in Mr. Martocchio K2 class, you are LUCKY. This has been the most transformational experience for our son and my wife and I. This is a class that teaches independence based on confidence. Our son was “forced” to be independent because he has two older brothers; but Mr. Martocchio thought him confidence based on self reliance (confidence) not pressure. He has the ability to bring the side of a child that makes them shine. He is not here for us parents. His selfless heart is for our kids, who sets a firm foundation for years to come. If my wife and I could have done it all over, we would have sent our 2 and 5 graders back to his class instead of private school.
July 26, 2018.
I had mixed feelings when I found out that my daughter was going to be Mr. Martocchio’s student. Mr. Martocchio has a reputation at Grant (getting both negative and positive reviews from previous parents). I knew he had higher standards than your average teacher. I have a very energetic child so I was apprehensive about her starting his class. However after the orientation, I trusted in him that he would provide a quality kindergarten experience. He was very clear with his expectations of the parents and students. From day 1, my daughter had positive experiences aside from the “normal” kindergarten stuff. She enjoyed the music lessons, seat work, cooking lessons and everything in between. She did not see anything “wrong” with his discipline style saying “he’s strict.” Yet she came home every day with a good story to tell me. She could not wait to go back to school and wanted to be in class (she cried on her sick days!) At the end of the school year she had this to say “Mr. Martocchio is the smartest teacher!”
July 26, 2018.
This is not your ordinary Kindergarten class. Your child will get a full experience with not just academics but art, language, music, social skills, and science to name a few. Mr. Martocchio is a very dedicated teacher, who devotes a lot of time and energy to his students and curriculum. He has high expectations but you will be impressed and happy with the results. The beginning of the school year is usually rough because you have to adjust to the classroom style. Mr. Martocchio keeps parents informed with his website, emails. It can be overwhelming because there’s a lot of details but you will see that it’s helpful and sometimes necessary. Our favorites from his class were the cooking classes and winter and spring shows. You will be amazed at how all the hard work pays off. As a parent, I was very impressed at how the classroom was functioning by mid-year. You walk in and see a group of 5-6 year olds independently doing their work and behaved! You will not be disappointed!
July 28, 2018.
Mr. Martocchio is THE most dedicated teacher I have ever known. His effort with the children goes above and beyond what any parent could ever hope for at any school, public/ private, anywhere.
July 12, 2021.
We couldn't have been happier with Mr. Martocchio as our child's kindergarten teacher! This past year of distance learning was very different than a typical year, but we were immediately impressed with Mr. Martocchio's innovative approach that was tailored to each child's level of learning. Overall, his system taught personal responsibility, perseverance, and awarded hard work as opposed to natural ability. When the district transitioned back to in-person learning, it was obvious that he exercised excellent classroom control-- which lends itself to a more productive learning environment. Another bonus, he was very approachable and easy to reach whenever we had questions or concerns. We were really SO impressed with how much our child learned from him and only wish our older child had had Mr. Martocchio as well!
July 23, 2021.
My daughter not only thrived but transformed while in Mr. Martocchio's class. She is an independent and strong-willed child and his teaching style was such a perfect balance of structure and kindness that really resonated with her. Unfortunately since it was a covid year, we didn't get the chance to experience all the extracurricular activities that he normally exposes the children to and even so, it was still a remarkable year. It was clear that he and my daughter had a mutual respect for each other and I would highly recommend him to anyone, especially anyone with a child that could use more discipline with a soft touch!
October 26, 2023.
Mr. Martocchio elevates the teaching profession. We feel fortunate that our son had Mr. Martocchio for kindergarten and first grade. Now that our son is in second grade, he is ahead of most of his peers. Mr. Martocchio invests in his students outside of their cognitive learning. The learning is also experiential. For example, he teaches his students several instruments, including the ukulele, piano, and drums. He organizes a semi-annual student performance where his students display their musical talents while learning about the humanities.
Daniel Brockett, MD