I am currently in my 17th year of teaching in an urban, public school. For the past 15 years, I have taught at Central Academy, a multi-age, democratic school, which serves students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. For my first 10 years at Central, I taught 8, 9, and 10-year olds, or the equivalent of 3rd and 4th graders. I now teach 9, 10, and 11-year olds, or the equivalent of 4th and 5th grades. Since moving to the 4th/5th grade level, which we refer to as Intermediate, I have taught in a team teaching setting, where we have a large double room and share 52 students. I have also had experience as the literacy coach for our district's summer school program, where I assisted with implementing the Four Blocks framework for literacy instruction. I have been a visiting instructor for a social studies methods course at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). I was a member of our district's equity leadership team for five years, as well as a member of our school's CARE team, which focused on culturally relevant teaching, for six years. Other experiences include: â€¢Shared building leadership through weekly consensus meetings, grade level meetings, and vertical grade level meetings â€¢Direct work with Dr. James Beane to enhance student-based research â€¢Comprehension strategy work with Eve Hayes â€¢Multi-age, project-based math instruction with Dr. Beatrice Dâ€™Ambrosio â€¢Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) with Dr. Stephanie Smith to strengthen mathematical number sense â€¢Assisted Middletown City Schools in developing a math pacing guide â€¢Participation in professional book clubs (Through Ebony Eyes, Learning to Trust, Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way, and Quality Questioning) â€¢Visit to Mission Hill School in Boston, MA to deepen my understanding of multi-age education â€¢Participation in the League of Democratic Schools in Seattle, WA â€¢CARE (Collaborative Action Research for Equity) training for five years â€¢Sessions with Dr. Tom Poetter on interest-based research â€¢Training from Dr. Tom Poetter on supervising and cooperative teacher roles for Miami University student interns (student teachers) â€¢Praxis training to mentor first-year teachers through Butler County Educational Service Center
In our classrooms, we do not use text books other than as resources. We use learning contracts, thematic research, writer's workshop, independent reading, literature circles, CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction), and various hands on based activities for students to work on learning goals. At Central Academy, we differentiate instruction and discipline to meet the individual needs of the students. We also include student voice and choice in most of the decisions made throughout the school. This democratic approach, along with other strategies and techniques, truly help to prevent, as well as effectively work through, academic and discipline issues within our school community. Additionally, I feel that teaching students to be thoughtful, respectful, informative citizens is just has important as teaching them academics.
I have received various awards and recognition from former students when they reach the high school level. I have been nominated for the Crystal Apple Award on several occasions. I was selected to speak at the Summit for Courageous Conversations on Project Based Learning. I was asked to contribute to a book chapter called "Rethinking Discipline: A Look at Community-Making from Central Academy," which was published in Education in a Democracy: A Journal of the NNER. This article can be accessed at http://www.units.muohio.edu/nnerjournal/currentissue.html
I received my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, Grades K - 8 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I received my Master's Degree in Reading and Mathematics Instruction from Walden University.
I am married to my husband, Chris, and have a 16-year old step-daughter named Aubrey. The three of us live with our two dogs, Abigail (a giant schnauzer) and Sally (a beagle mix). We also have a cat named Skylar and a ferret named Kramer. We are obviously animal lovers! It is so enjoyable watching the four of them interact, especially when the 2-pound Kramer chases the 90-pound Abigail around the house! I enjoy reading, walking, and gardening, (particularly landscaping around our house). I am a huge fan of the Cincinnati Bengals and love watching NFL football on Sundays with friends and family! I am very passionate about helping students, especially those who are underprivileged, to reach their fullest potential.