Westby teacher winning over students & parents

Debbie Urbanek ends each school day by giving her students either a high five or a hug.

“There’s something to love about every kid. Sometimes you have to look a little harder than others but there’s something to love about every kid,” said Urbanek, February’s Top Notch Teacher.

The third grade teacher is known for energy in the classroom. But now she’s being recognized for her work when the day is over.

Urbanek has made sure to contact each students’ parents at home.


“Sometimes it’s notes home with the kids. Sometimes it’s little awards to let the parents know that the kids are doing a good job. I don’t want the first time I contact a parent to be for a negative reason,” said Urbanek, who has taught in the Westby School District for 24 years.

Teachers at Westby Elementary School were challenged to find more ways to involve parents this year. Urbanek has gone above and beyond, even calling families when she gets home for the day.

“She works really hard on her craft and we always count on her for those extra things that teaching requires,” said Bruce Peterson, the principal at Westby Elementary School.

Peterson says parents have been pleased to know more about what’s going on with their children day to day. Urbanek says it’s all just part of the job.

“I like the satisfaction of seeing the light bulb go off, the satisfaction from watching them learn and seeing them grow.”