Alumni - UVGSE - Upper Valley Graduate School of Education

  • A Mid-Career Goal Achieved

    I started my internship at UVEI at age 34. Despite a promising career in book publishing and mothering a four-year-old, I had always wanted to teach, but going back to school seemed unrealistic. When I heard about UVEI, my desire to become an educator was reignited—and the possibility that I could actually become one was within reach.

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  • Creating and Sustaining Shifts in Instructional Practice

     

    As in most schools, finding time to collaborate is a challenge. The day is so jam packed, we as teachers often forget that there is a brain trust right in our building. Furthermore, when we do collaborate, we rarely focus these discussions on instructional changes to improve student outcomes.

    That is why -- when we created our Action Research project in UVGSE’s Master of Arts in Teaching program -- we decided to study the connection between collaboration and sustained change in instructional practice. Over the course of the year, we were able to practice and reflect on new skills in facilitation, coaching, data collection and analysis.  The time spent processing with other participants in our UVGSE seminars helped us to learn from the collective experiences of our fellow master’s colleagues. The coaching was supportive, but definitely challenged us to examine and grow our practice and beliefs outside our comfort zones.

    Given the opportunity to practice the skills we learned in class and apply them to real life situations, along with receiving constructive feedback on what went well and what we could do next, was really helpful. Learning how to speak with other teachers and in group meetings to move the conversation along purposefully allowed us to establish a collaborative environment in our school. We plan to continue building an atmosphere to strengthen collegial bonds and, most importantly, improve our student outcomes by collectively improving instructional practice.

    Story by Ann Deturk and Emily Morrison

    Ann Deturk and Emily Morrison both teach at Hartland Elementary School.

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  • Heidi Magario

    Introducing Competency-Based Learning to My Students

    “Can I have a calculator?” asks Dylan, “I want to see what I got.”

    “What do you mean, ‘what you got?’”  I ask.

    “The average.  What’s my overall grade?”

    Inspired by my time at UVEI, I have spent the better part of the last year training my students to think beyond the traditional single-grade system. Though I still have students like Dylan—those who care more about the grade than the quality of the learning—he is the exception.  Most of my students say that they like the change.

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  • My Evolution as a Literacy Coach

    In my role as Literacy Coordinator at the Richmond Middle School, I wear many hats, one being a literacy coach. Planning and collaborating with, observing, and providing feedback to both new and veteran teachers is a complex undertaking which I hesitated to jump into until I more fully understood the many facets of coaching. Professional development can so often be disconnected from our daily work in schools. What I found at UVEI/UVGSE was a group of professionals who gathered in the evenings or on weekends for classes which had a direct and practical connection to the work I was doing on a daily basis at Richmond Middle School (RMS). I learned how to consider, examine and articulate each phase of the coaching process. Although it took some time for me to feel comfortable with the stances of a coach and the process of working with a colleague who wants to improve their practice, my participation gave me the boost I needed to gain confidence and take the leap into instructional coaching.   

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