Tuesday, February 16, 2016



2016 English Education 5-12 Certification
            Montana State University
            GPA: 3.93

2005 Organizational Communications with a Minor in English Literature
            University of South Alabama
Coursework: Interpersonal Communications, Small Group Discussion, Interpersonal Conflict Management, Technical Writing, and Writing for Media
            Independent Study:
Planning and leading a facilitated group meeting where employees could safely and respectfully voice their concerns to management at a local non-profit organization

Educational Experience
Student Teaching Spring 2016      
Bozeman High School         Michelle Swinford
·      Sophomores and seniors for 14-week internship: English II and Contemporary Literature
·      Collaborated to design the entire senior contemporary literature course
§  Researched literature selections, lesson plans, rubrics, and formative and summative assessments based on desired outcomes and common core standards appropriate to grade level
§  Planned course based on recent pedagogical styles of allowing for more student choice
·      Graded papers and formative assessments for 90+ students
·      Differentiated instruction in conjunction with aide to facilitate learning for all levels
·      Assumed duties of Cooperating Teacher: routines, attendance, discipline
·      Attended IEP and 504 meetings in the presence of and on behalf of CT

Practicum Teaching Fall 2015       
Belgrade High School          Kim Tucker
·      60 hours of classroom observation and participation
·      Taught independently while being observed by MSU field supervisor
·      Took on a leadership role in the absence of cooperating teacher

Professional Development
·      Attended the 2015 Yellowstone Writing Project
·      Work-shopped with composition students at Gallatin College
·      Analyzed and wrote about my conceptualized role in Response to Intervention
·      Visited with Dottie Susag from OPI regarding Indian Education for All

Service Learning
·      Assisted with an in-class writing workshop at Belgrade HS - Aaron Yost
·      Helped the drama teacher and students’ production at CJMS, Bozeman
·      Participated in online collaboration with students in Savage and Missoula, MT

 Certifications and Awards
·      First aid and CPR Certified
·      Inkling award from the English department for classroom contributions
·      Notary Public for the State of Montana, expires September 2017
·      MSU President’s Honor Roll Fall 2014 and Spring 2015

Relevant Work History
2005-2014    First Security Bank    Bozeman, Montana
Account Specialist & Customer Service Manager
·      Assisted customers with account opening and maintenance
·      Maintained current knowledge of state and federal regulations
·      Communicated regulations and policies effectively to customers     
·      Oversaw daily operations of the department for staff of 12
·      Created schedules and tracked attendance records
·      Disciplined, motivated, and instructed employees
·      Conducted probationary and annual evaluations
·      Served on the Human Resources Personnel Committee
·      Reviewed documentation for accuracy and compliance
·      Problem-solved with upset customers

Interests and Hobbies
·      Travel
·      Writing
·      Cooking
·      Reading
·      Camping
·      Hunting
·      Trivial knowledge

·      The pursuit of curiosity

Cover Letter

Confidential and customized to each school district to which I apply.

Philosophy of Education

“Both you and Mrs. Beauregard have made me so much happier to write. Last year writing became so boring and lame...I hated it. I have loved writing so much in the past and I am elated to finally be back to loving it! Thanks for helping me come back around.” -Sophomore Student, April 26, 2016

The above quote came from one of my sophomore students during my student teaching at Bozeman High School.  I finished the internship before his satirical paper was due, so I emailed him later to ask how it went.  What he said is what makes teaching magical.  It isn’t the satisfaction of having a student score advanced proficient on a writing assessment; it’s the fact that he experienced a change within himself.  I believe in the teaching of individuals, not just the teaching of English, and though I will hold the title of teacher one day, classroom achievement will happen in spite of me not because of me. Knowing this to be true, I still have a responsibility to create and maintain a classroom culture that facilitates positive and authentic learning experiences for my students and the opportunity for them to experience a change toward greater self-efficacy.  Assessment, therefore, should reflect a growth mindset - meaning that perfection should not be expected on the first try, and efforts toward improvement should be awarded.  If a student is willing to revise a paper to earn a better grade, I want to honor and encourage that effort by giving back points.
            My priority is to create a community of learners who respect one another’s values and beliefs and actively engage with one another.  Students and I together can achieve this through interpersonal dialogue, whole class and small group discussion, writing projects, and relevance in what they are asked to do.  In Montana, many students go through their entire school lives together having the unique opportunity to know one another very well.  A level of intimacy such as this lends itself well to developing loyalty, accountability, motivation, and healthy competition among classmates.  I see myself as a multilateral facilitator of learning – teacher to students, students to teacher, students to students. 
            I value creativity, fun, and an affective response to knowledge because those are the components of authentic learning.   On the middle school level, cultivating a sincere love for learning is paramount to students’ success in the long run.  As I get to know my students, learning plans will be differentiated and customized to their individual and communal interests so that they will walk away from my class having learned something, or better, having considered a new way of thinking and communicating.  I use the word learning plan as opposed to lesson plan because my goal is to pose questions and provide tools that challenge students to think critically.  My intent is to amplify their innate abilities to learn in ways
they themselves can recognize and value, and for even the seemingly least motivated student to have an aha moment (or several!). 
My job is to set the tone for a safe space to think, create, and share, so that we may learn together.   Education is, after all, a collaborative and communal triumph.  I cannot wait to teach and, even more, to learn from students how to better differentiate instruction, manage classroom procedures, and individualize instruction for everyone’s greatest benefit.  

District Application Questions

Professional Portfolio Component:
District Application Questions

1.    What are the aspects of your education and experience that you think would be particularly appropriate for this position such as past leadership roles, community activities, honors, etc?

I am a nontraditional student in the sense that upon graduation I will have two undergraduate degrees in Communications and English Education.  I am also nontraditional because I am a little older than the average recent graduate and as a result, I have a history of professional growth in between completing these two degrees. I have a proven dedication to professional development and building and maintaining working relationships within and across disciplines and departments. I earned and maintained a perfect GPA such that I was on the President’s Honor Roll for two semesters.  I typically find myself in leadership roles in collaborative settings.  I have participated in ongoing community service since I was a child.  I believe that if we want to build a solid community it requires work and a constant reinvestment of resources.

2.    Describe the skills or attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher.

Of course a teacher must love students and learning, and I really do.  I fall in love with the classroom and the kids wherever I am, but a teacher cannot be passive.  It is necessary to actively build a community within the classroom by creating a safe place where students can be vulnerable to facing what they don’t know.  One way of doing this is creating a discourse community that focuses on building quality dialogue between students and seeking ways to give them agency over their learning.   I also think it is necessary for teachers to have a tool box of teaching strategies, resources to help design lessons, and a dedication to professional development.  Because I am a Communications and English Education person, I think it is incredibly important to be able to incorporate collaborative communication strategies into the lessons, especially considering that more and more, students (and people in general) are asked to work in groups.  Therefore, an outstanding teacher will also instruct students on how to make the most of group work, such as delegating responsibilities, setting deadlines, and practicing different roles. 

3.    How do to ensure your students learn?

Students must first be given the tools for learning – access to materials, technology, and texts in a variety of mediums for variety, interest, and differentiation.  I then design lessons in purposeful ways using backward design, meaning I start with the end goal and work backwards with formative assessments to help them get there.  A pre-assessment should be used to determine what students already know so that time is used most efficiently.  Formative assessments will demonstrate knowledge for them as well as guide my teaching toward the end goal.  Common core standards help shape desired skills and are relevant to the lessons I plan.  Finally, summative assessments should give students the opportunity to show what they know and give me the opportunity to reflect and redesign based on what the students need.  

Parent Communication Plan

Parent Communication Plan

Part A
Parents are actually co-teachers - just in a different space.  A student’s success is largely dependent on the school’s ability to work in conjunction with the parents or guardians.  A student likely spends more waking hours at school than he does at home.  Therefore, my first commitment is to the student but not to the exclusion of the valuable role parents play in a student’s achievement.  Parents and guardians must be invited to engage in the classroom because really, we have the same goal: providing students with the tools they need to be successful adults. 
Depending on the school’s policies and schedule for after hours events, I would like to host an open house prior to the start of the semester where parents and students are invited to my classroom for a meet and greet. 
I would take that time to introduce myself personally and present the overarching theme for the semester and/or the whole year.   Parents could get an idea of who I am and how I interact with people.  I could go over the syllabus and disclosures as well as what texts we will cover.  I would also discuss with them my grading and discipline policies and give them instructions on how to access their students’ grades online.  Parents and students would then have the opportunity to ask me any questions, and I will provide my school email address as a way for them to contact me should any questions or concerns arise later.  At a separate meeting, be that in person or by phone, I would like to touch base with parents whose student has an IEP or qualifies for 504 accommodations. 
Communication with parents cannot stop there, however.   Ongoing updates must be made available to parents.  In my managerial experience doing annual evaluations for my employees, I held the belief that there should be no surprises on an evaluation.  The same holds true for students and their parents.  There should be no surprises at midterm or year-end concerning a student’s grade.  Before it is too late, I will contact by email or phone call any parent whose student is at risk of failing my class.  If school policy allows for the creation of a Twitter account for a class, I would utilize it as a way to post updates and inform parents (and the community) of what is happening in class.  This could also be a good way for students to integrate what they are learning into the broader community.
Problems do arise, and if correcting the problem goes beyond what I can manage in the classroom, parents and possibly administration will most definitely be brought on board.  Prior to contacting a parent or guardian about an issue, great care must be made to collect as much factual data as possible surrounding the situation.  This could be test scores, formative assessment data, attendance records, and behavioral observations.  It is then time to listen to what the parent has to say and let him or her reply.  It never hurts to remind parents that we are on the same team of supporting the student.  It also never hurts to have something positive to say.  It is then my duty to provide a parent with progress reports in case we need to reshape our approach to correcting the behavior or providing the best opportunities for the student to succeed. 
Parent contact does not just have to happen when there is a problem.  Parents can feel engaged in the classroom over positive interactions as well.  In the disclosure agreement I send home with students, I will ask parents for multiple ways to reach them as well as preferred ways of contacting them.  When I catch a student doing something right, I will contact the parent just to give them a chance to feel proud of their student and to let the student know that more than one person cares. 

Part B
April 29, 2016
Dear Parents and/or Guardians,

Welcome to Sophomore English II.  I have a fun and challenging year planned that covers various texts with corresponding assignments.  First, let me assure you that I have your student’s best interest at heart.  I care deeply for each and every student because his or her success is our success.  That being said, you should also know that I ask for their very best work on the given assignments.  Some of these assignments are part of the district-wide assessments for informative writing, narrative writing, and concession paragraphs.  In addition, I have allotted time for creative writing, satire, which they particularly enjoy, and free-choice reading, writing, speaking and presenting assignments.  In case you haven’t noticed, teenagers like making their own decisions, and as long as we are being productive and aligning our outcomes with the common core state standards, I am going to let them!

A disclosure agreement from me will be sent home during the first week of class that both you and your student should sign.  Within that document is a sample rubric used for grading, the types of assessments I use, a list of texts we will be covering this year, the school’s plagiarism, absent, and tardy policies, and my own classroom management plan.  Let me preface the management plan by stating that they are are not just about discipline; they include ways of building the kind of respectful classroom environment where students can learn.  Here are some values of great importance to me that I expect from my students:
  • ·      A growth mindset
  • ·      Professionalism and poise
  • ·      A solution-oriented approach to learning (and complaining for that matter)
  • ·      Respect
  • ·      Quality discussion

In return I commit to respecting you and your student, to working hard to maintain a positive environment, to delivering quality instruction to meet learning goals, and to keeping open lines of communication with you, the most instrumental person in your child’s life.  We are in this together.  Feel free to contact me any time by calling the school or emailing me at leevernon@ourschool.com.  I also hope to have a Twitter account set up for the sophomore students.  I will provide more information as soon as it is available. 

Be on the look out for an open house invitation from the school.  Excitement abounds for what this year has in store, and I can’t wait to meet our students!


Lee Vernon
School Phone: 406-555-7777