"Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future."-John F. Kennedy Cassandra Rusie
Through my numerous experiences in the classroom, I have developed a philosophy incorporating education and experience. I believe that if students enjoy being in the classroom, then their possibilities for success are endless. I also believe, as a teacher, I must be nurturing, understanding, and motivational in the classroom to obtain optimum results. Please explore my portfolio and look at some of the wonderful experiences I have had in the classroom. I am eager to discuss everything I have discovered about myself and my teaching style. Welcome to my portfolio!
About Me I am a Wayne State University graduate I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with grades 6-12 English and History Endorsements I have had the privilege to teach in a variety of settings. Middle and high school levels School year and summer school Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties Charter, public, and private schools English, history, and yearbook classes I am currently an Eastern Michigan University graduate student I am expected to complete my Master of Arts degree in K-12 Educational Leadership in August 2011.
Teaching Experience I have had three specific experiences so far in my career. University Preparatory Academy, Detroit, MI CranbrookKingswood Schools, Bloomfield Hills, MI Horizons-Upward Bound program East Detroit Public Schools, Eastpointe, MI
University Preparatory Academy English Language Arts Advisor, 2009-2010 Taught 9th grade Language Arts, History of Technology, and Advisory, a career and test taking skill course. Selected as 9th grade English Language Arts lead teacher Responsible for the academic, mental, and social development of 17 students Coordinated their education and communicated with their parents regularly Initiated Student Study Team (SST) process for struggling students Used Positive Behavior Support (PBS) to reinforce desired conduct Arranged individualized, 10 week internships for each student with a mentor from the Metro Detroit area.
University Preparatory Academy Served as part of several district groups Digital Academy technology team Culture Committee Curriculum team Offered ELA and ACT tutoring before and after school Proctored standardized testing Participated in a Professional Learning Community (PLC) with 7 other 9th grade educators The group used benchmarking to determine needs and develop a plan for developing college readiness Link to University Preparatory Academy website
University Prep - Dateline NBC University Preparatory Academy was featured on the national news program, “Dateline NBC” as part of their “What Works” segment. The school was highlighted for its high achievement and student success rate. My students, my classroom, and my teaching are featured prominently in the segment. Please click image above to view segment.
University Prep – Community Outreach One of the key components of University Prep’s “Big Picture” model is the Learning Through Internship (LTI) program. Each teacher assists each student in securing a mentor from a job field he or she is interested in. Every one of my 17 students had an internship, a rare feat at University Prep. I planned and organized a large group outing to see how a city operates. See pictures from that LTI experience HERE.
University Prep – ELA Team Lead My administrator selected me to serve as team lead I was put in charge of coordinating those on my team and compiling testing data. During the year, I facilitated meetings relating to grade wide benchmark testing. Early planning meeting notes for benchmarking test Meeting minutes from testing planning session Results of 9th grade reading benchmarking testing
University Prep – Curriculum Team As part of University Prep’s Curriculum Team, I evaluated the current 9th grade ELA curriculum, revised it to align with state standards, and created a collection of support documents and assessments for the future of the department. 9th Grade ELA Units 1, 2, 3, 4 Sample syllabus To Kill A Mockingbird review PowerPoint Final exam Invitation to join Curriculum Team
Horizons-Upward Bound Student Teacher, 2008 Chosen as one of two English Language Arts interns for the summer of 2008 Planned curriculum for 10th grade African American Literature course Taught gifted Detroit Public School students Acted as mentor and counselor for 45 students Conducted after hours tutoring twice per week Participated in the planning and execution of several extracurricular events, including career night, talent show, college visits, and end of term award ceremony
Horizons-Upward Bound English Instructor, 2008-2009 Hired as contract teacher after successful completion of internship. Only intern retained from summer session Continued work with 45 10th grade students, mentoring them in academic and social issues. Planned class field trip with mentor teacher’s class to the Museum of African American History Participated in graduation ceremonies Conducted interviews with prospective students for the program Link to Horizons-Upward Bound website
HUB – Drama Unit I devoted two of the six weeks in the term to a drama unit. Students acted out August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. Unit Plan Guided Reading Questions Act Quiz
HUB – Theme Paper Each student in the program was responsible for completing a project about the theme of the term. The theme this term was the HUB Code of Honor that all students are expected to follow Project rubric Project guidelines Example of completed project
HUB – Teacher of the Summer At the end of my first term with Horizons-Upward Bound, I earned the “Teacher of the Summer” award, due to my hard work and dedication to my students.
East Detroit Public Schools Student Teacher, 2007 Student taught under an 8th grade Language Arts teacher Prepared and executed lessons on The Outsiders Mentored students in writing essays for statewide contest; one student became a finalist Substitute Teacher, 2007-2009 Taught all grade levels in all subjects at all 9 district schools Served as long term substitute in 8th grade US History class.
East Detroit Public Schools English and Yearbook teacher, 2009 Took over from outgoing teacher mid-year Taught 12th grade Applied Writing, 11th grade Composition, 10th grade Literature, and 10th-12th grade Yearbook Oversaw final production and sales and distribution of yearbook Mentored seniors in preparation of career portfolio project, a requirement for graduation Assisted in graduation ceremony Link to East Detroit Public Schools website
Teaching and Learning Statement Students need to learn and experience. Experience and education need each other to thrive. Students take accountability for their education. It is my role as teacher to guide students as they take an active role in their learning. I will engage my students in discussion and encourage them to raise questions. I believe that students will benefit from a variety of assessments. These include written, oral, presentation, and formal testing, among others. Link to Full Teaching and Learning statement
Beliefs into Action I will create an environment where students can question their knowledge and be active participants in their education. A student-centered classroom fosters the development of high-level intellectual skills. I believe that learning should be fun. Students should enjoy their lessons and want to learn. Learning to love to learn is the key to students’ success. I am the moderator of interactive lessons where students can make choices about how to complete their assignments. This creates accountability and the life skill of analyzing actions and consequences. I encourage communication among students. Learning is not a solitary activity and the various talents, and experiences of each student are the best educational tools a teacher can have. I think that students learn best when they can relate their lives to the lesson. This includes creating cross-curricular connections between subjects to create a sense of fluidity in their education. Our brains do not contain separate, divided portions, so education should not be either.
Beliefs into Action I set high standards for academic achievement and personal conduct. If students have attainable goals to aspire to, then they will work hard to accomplish them. However, if standards are impossible, students will be discouraged and give up. I continuously evolve my teaching methods in order to enhance the quality of education I provide my students. A good teacher is a lifelong learner. I incorporate technology in the classroom. It is vital for me to keep up with the resources my students use daily. Using these tools will help to interest my students of the technology generation with conventional lessons. I take an interest into my students’ personal lives. Life does not stop when they enter the classroom and the baggage they bring with them is crucial to the success or failure of their academic performance. Above all else, I believe in teaching children. No matter what subject matter or grade level, I believe that when children are the focus, it is impossible to fail. Link to Beliefs into Action statements
Sample Lesson Plan This lesson plan features one of my favorite strategies for learning vocabulary, linking tables. The lesson is centered around the text, “Cask of Amontillado,” by Edgar Allen Poe. Lesson Plan Linking tables explanation Example overhead Student handout Word to know Reminding word Reminding story Reminding picture Definition