Mark is an inspiration, a motivator, and a leader. I have had the privilege of hearing Mark present to teachers, parents, and administrators, and his candor and realism touch each and every person he speaks with. I often utilize him as a guest speaker when putting together educational conferences. Mark is an amazing man with amazing talents and a story that must be heard.
Director of Exceptional Student Services, Colorado Department of Education
Mark is an experienced, skilled, and passionate special education teacher, who gives one hundred percent to his job and to his students. He is an impressive individual who always maintains a positive attitude in-spite of his surroundings and personal challenges. He is a wonderful role model for students with special needs, acts as a mentor to these students and gives hope to parents for their children’s futures.
What you quickly learn about Mark is that he is not a victim of his challenges but uses those to propel his motivation to work with students with special needs. Moreover, his passion to see his students succeed academically, and in life, leads him to act as a mentor and role model for students with disabilities.
Dr. Brian Printz
Special Education Director
Mark Chartier is an exceptional educator, speaker and motivator for his students. He takes a great deal of pride in the challenges he has conquered and enjoys sharing his story with others. Mr. C, as he is known to his students, takes his role as a teacher very seriously. He speaks openly with his students and their families about not letting anything get in the way of his goals. He is ambitious and inspires others to want to be their very best as well. Mr. Chartier sends the message to never give up and never let anything hold you back.
When our son John, “JJ” was seven months old we would get puzzling looks from strangers as they listened to him speak in full sentences. As toddler we were in awe as he became fluent in German and Greek before the age of three. We’d watch him focus on his Thomas the Tank engines for hours as he meticulously place each train piece in an order that only made sense to him.
As John grew older, we realized that the trains took on new meanings as they became his colors. The color blue became “Thomas”, green became “Percy”, and red became “James” and so on. As proud parents of this young child who had mastered languages and created a new color system, we could only think that we were raising a genius... right?
By the time JJ entered kindergarten his teachers referred to him as a caring, compassionate and highly intelligent student. He amazed everyone with his academic abilities, and turned heads with his inquisitiveness and knowledge of world news and historical events that he had read from books and seen in short glimpses of news broadcasts.
The beginning of first grade he started to have setbacks. By mid-year his reading and writing skills were suffering tremendously. Sight words slowly became unrecognizable and the ABC’s that he once could sign and recite in three languages seemed unreachable. Homework was starting to be a challenge leaving us with more tears and frustration than anything else. Sitting still was out of the question. I started to spend the majority of my days as a parent volunteer for JJ’s comfort and support.
At the end of first grade and with endless doctor appointments behind us, we were faced with the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. Our once happy and intelligent child who was thoroughly enthusiastic about school, was miserably unhappy and dreaded each school day. His sensory issues took center stage as everything from holding a pencil to the button on his pants became unbearable. We felt helpless as we watched our little boy struggle through his days. He became withdrawn and repeatedly referred to himself as “stupid”. We made the difficult decision to have him repeat the first grade.
We spent the next two years tackling one issue at a time, starting our focus on a new wardrobe of soft, oversized clothing to avoid sensory issues, and enrolled him an expensive outside learning program that we thought had pushed him a step ahead. We started second grade with a new hope, only to be disappointed. Before we knew it JJ had been placed on an IEP and needed to be pulled from class for extra guidance. As parents, we felt as if we had failed our intelligent son by allowing him to be labeled.
One evening at the dinner table, JJ could not tell us enough about a “Mr. C”. Soon, he was excited to get to school “because Mr. C will take me out of class and make it easy to be there”. Before long we were hearing the comments, “He gets me”, “I have friends in Mr. C’s class”, and “Mr. C. asked me to do this homework”! Being a parent volunteer and an officer of the PTO, I knew Mr. Chartier as a teacher, but it did not take long to realize just how special of a teacher, person, and friend he truly is. Not only did he get our son, to look forward to learning again, but he got John and our daughter to join his poetry club and encouraged them to perform front of an audience.
We witnessed our withdrawn son laugh and high five friends as they all referred to him as “The Jayster!” and “Mr. Jaymeister”, the nicknames Mr. C. had given him. We left elementary school, with reservations of having to leave the amazing teacher who was so instrumental in giving us our son back. What we learned was that Mr. C.’s inspiring lessons of hard work, dedication, integrity, and perseverance were deep seeded.
Now that John is heading into the 10th grade in a different school district, the difficult days seem to be a blur. John is an honor roll student who has had his IEP completely lifted the since 7th grade. He is actively involved in the debate club, Chess club, and is a member of the golf team.
A great teacher brings creativity to teaching. A great teacher works tirelessly and selflessly to engage all types of students. A great teacher is one a student remembers and cherishes for a lifetime. We were very fortunate to have such a teacher with Mr. Chartier for our son, and mentor to our daughter.
Mr. C., You truly have a gift with “your” kids. Your patience and ability to vary your teaching style to fit the needs of each individual child is a blessing! Everyone of your students are very fortunate to have you as their teacher. Your love for, and natural ability to shape the lives of children is evident in everything you do.
My daughter is a former student of Mr. C’'s. She was lucky to have him as a special education teacher for several years in elementary school. Initially when I met Mr. C., our daughter was at a plateau and my expectations for further advancement were low. I was aware that Mr. C. also had his own diagnosis, and although that was not a concern for me, I was interested to see how he could possibly teach my daughter when she had a profound hearing impairment. I had no idea how she would be able to understand him, if she had difficulty following conversations in our home. That initial concern was gone in almost an instant. Mr. C. is a dynamic teacher and connects with all kids. Not only was my daughter able to understand him, she began making progress again. The plateau she had reached was gone and she began making advancements that had me questioning how for she would really go. She far surpassed our expectations the years that Mr. C worked with her.
Mr. C. was not only a wonderful teacher for our daughter with special needs, but we could see all the kids at the school connect with him and respect him. He probably wasn't aware but we would see him at the school carnival sitting in the dunk tank, letting kid after kid get their giggles when he would get dunked. Our younger children were simply attracted to his personality, as were all the kids we saw interacting with him. I know he has a "diagnosis" or his own "special need"; however, I struggle with the thought of a label being applied to this magnificent person. I have had many conversations with Mr. C., and his "tics" which I once thought would hinder his communication with my daughter, probably enhance the listening and understanding. I believe she utilized more focus to interact with Mr. C. and she needs to always keep focus because of her hearing impairment. Personally, I also think that our conversations were only enhanced. To say that Mr. C. has overcome his own challenges, or has coped with his disability seem almost an insult. I feel his disability is an asset to his career working with children. Mr. C's connection with all children allowed him to enter their world and truly teach them. He taught them academically and he helped children with special needs develop confidence and social skills. He may not have been aware, but the depth of respect that the children had for him allowed him to teach typical children to accept and socialize with children that were different from them. His impact will last forever in our family, and I can only assume in the lives of many others.
The Wonderful Adventures of Mr.C’s Class and More…
Elementary School, that long expanse of time before the changes from moving to middle school then to high school in all that time if I had to pick one of the best things from that time it would be knowing MR.C. From the dunk tank carnival to just the class was a time of its own. Although I started with Mr.C in fourth grade I always knew of him. My first grade class was in the same hall. In all that time we would pass his room in a line I would see the “misfits”. Take into account this is a developing time for me so the misfits were the assisted students. All I could think about was the fun joyous faces that they had. From the kids who never smiled to the constant jovial kids. All that time thinking of the fun they had not even knowing the work they were doing. Fast forward to fifth grade a time king of the school all others looked to the top of the class. But I was not reading to par. Think one of the top class men. Not a straight road over the horizon the big school, the middle school. Like a castle on the horizon waiting for us to take it by storm. But for me there was still a giant mote in front of me. I cold not read well a skill I desperately needed to storm that castle out there. So I got to have the honor/privilege of taking Mr. C’s class. I also got a great group of people to take that castle with. To say the class was made for us was as understatement. It was like MR.C forged that class out of platinum for us. His class was to date the best class I have ever had. He got us to read well put thoughts together. To say my life changed for the better was a colossal understatement. He did not stop there in that time my mind I was challenged in other ways. One of the best poetry classes I had ever taken was with him. Boosting my self-confidence setting me up for other achievements to take me to where I am know. He gave me the chance to strive for new challenges like chess. Every time I have to speak in front of people I reflected back to his class. Every lesson I have learned helps me deliver great presentations. Which takes me to my conclusion this year I took an activity that takes all the lessons I learned. I took on the challenge of the NFL or Natal Speech and debate. In it I have got ribbons top spots in the areas of debate and Extemp. In Extemp I use the reading he helped refine in me to take a question like:
Will the OSE ever have good relations with the US?
Then read news articles use my knowledge to make a speech in 20 minutes. I am now competing for state. In the area of debate I would never had the courage to take on an opponent if I did not get the confidence from his class. All and all I would love to see you take this outstanding teacher into your school to impact other students in the way he has to me.
Old student and friend,
Or- J, the “jayster” Beebe
Over the last fifteen years in education, I have had the opportunity to work with many special education teachers, but none have demonstrated the passion that Mr. C. has for teaching. Mr. C. goes out his way to learn about his students by spending quality time with each student. Often times you would catch him playing basketball, throwing a ball, or getting stomped in tetherball during recess. He gets to know them, and they love him for taking the time to understand. Because of this, Mr. C. knows his students' needs. Students respond to him because they want to make him proud. I am proud to say that I was able to witness Mr. C. reach out to so many students in his special way. I feel blessed to have been able to learn from him.
5th Grade Teacher
I have known Mark Chartier for the past 2 years. Mark is a passionate, empathetic and kind person. As a teacher, Mark's students highly respect him. Mark goes above and beyond to meet the needs of his students and he is highly effective. I believe that Mark's ability to be successful, despite challenges he has faced, has motivated his students; Mark is an inspiration to the students and adults who know him.
Special Education Coordinator
Focus on what you can control,
and be the best buddy any buddy can be!