This is my ninth year teaching and my third at BCCS. I graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine where I studied Psychology, Spanish and Modern Dance. I never thought I would follow in my mother’s footsteps and become a teacher, but, during my senior year of college, I heard policy discussions and read research about the achievement gap and decided to pursue teaching in an urban area.
I moved to Boston and, while teaching at a respected charter high school in Roxbury, I earned my Masters of Arts in Teaching from Simmons College as part of an urban education cohort of charter school teachers. After my fifth year teaching reading to special education students, I decided I wanted to learn more about the best methods to teach reading and writing. With an opportunity to attend Harvard Graduate School of Education, I earned a Masters in Language and Literacy and was certified as a reading specialist.
Every day at BCCS, I apply my expertise in literacy as a seventh grade “Student Support Liaison.” I oversee the implementation of Individualized Education Programs, helping seventh grade humanities teachers differentiate curriculum and provide appropriate accommodations and modifications. I teach a small group class of the lowest readers in seventh grade and co-teach seventh grade reading and writing classes.
This provides me a unique perspective of the implementation of the Common Core Standards (CCSS) in different subject areas and with students at many levels! One of my greatest personal accomplishments was teaching a high school student how to read. Several years ago, on the first day of school, I discovered that one of my ninth grade students could not read at all. I worked with him for more than a year —including the summer— and he eventually could comprehend grade level texts. It was unbelievably rewarding to know the positive impact I had on his life. I am equally proud that many of my students have developed a love of reading and an ability to express themselves in writing. Last year, my small group class started seventh grade as reluctant readers but, by the end of the year, their reading levels had improved more than three grade levels and they were excited about books on topics from Justin Bieber to Greek Mythology. Helping students with a range of learning styles, personalities, interests and levels is a challenge and a pleasure. Engaging them with rigorous content and striking the right balance of implementing reading interventions and meeting grade level standards requires constant vigilance. I am impressed with the way BCCS has supported teachers in the transition to the CCSS and view the shift as a way to push my teaching to a new level.