matters to me. I have to grown to appreciate the unique needs (and creative tensions) present in this time of life. The more I write, read, think, and experience, the more I believe that middle school teachers must advocate for expectations and goals developmentally appropriate. Too often, the middle gets squeezed by the same expectations and measurements clamped to high school students. We can still have high expectations and exceptional achievement while making room for joy and passion. In middle level education, we teach students, not content. We teach writers, not writing. We teach readers, not reading.
My career started right out of graduate school (Temple University) and most of my experience has been cultivated inside an 8th grade classroom. I have directed the school play, coached football and baseball, and organized overnight trips to campgrounds, historical locations such as Colonial Williamsburg. For a few years, I ran an exchange program with the Gillotts School in Henley-on-Thames, England. And, once, I organized a spring break experience for a dozen kids to attend "college" at the University of Wyoming--we participated in many classes in the theater department and took some time to engage with the landscape and culture of Wyoming.
My participation as a co-director with the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project keeps me immersed in the current research on literacy, although our conversations, workshops, and presentations often draw from the seminal research from over the past fifty years.
Inspired by the Writers Week program at the William Fremd School in Illinois, a colleague and I started Writers Day in 2016--an all-day writing conference for kids.
Writers Day brought in over 30 writers--many from our community to workshop with our kids about all forms and modes of writing. We plan on continuing this program in 2017 and beyond.
2015 Penguin Random House Teachers Awards for Literacy. I finished in the top ten and as a runner-up I will receive a $500 grant award in addition to $1,000 of Penguin Random House books for my classroom.