In September of 2018, Mr. Achtziger and Ms. Dell’Olio asked their seniors to write down the number of complete books they read in high school on a piece of paper and hold it up for a photo.
Yes, there are some shockingly low number, especially considering most students would have been expected to read three or more full-length books per year in Grades 9-11. But - Mr. A. and Ms. Dell’Olio did not ask students to write down these numbers to judge. Instead, they wanted to run an experiment…
Using learning from Penny Kittle’s groundbreaking professional text Book Love and other sources, Mr. A. started using the Reader-Writer Workshop model of English instruction a few years ago. When he had the opportunity to work with Ms. Dell’Olio this year, both teachers decided that workshop-based instruction would be ideal for the E4 AP Language and Composition class.
Throughout the year, students had choice in almost all of the books they read for class, and Mr. A. and Ms. Dell’Olio were able to track their progress through teacher-student conferences, large-group discussions, and through the use of reflective writing assignments.
To prepare for the AP Language exam, many students selected “challenge” books – or titles from a list of classic works of literature frequently read as whole-class novels in high school. The best part about this is that students were able to select books that were personally appealing to them.
Mr. A.’s and Ms. Dell’Olio’s weekly “We Be Bookin’” talk-show style lesson invited several students to give book talks, which is where they shared what they loved about the books they selected to read. Many students shared how they have come to see themselves as readers after years of ambivalence.
The second photo was taken at the end of the year. So many students in the class broke their own high school reading records in just one short academic year!
Congratulations to Mr. Achtziger and Ms. Dell’Olio for helping to grow Mepham’s community of readers!
The Mepham English Department is proud to announce that Ms. Linu Chacko and Mr. William Morris have achieved National Board Certification, the most advanced professional credential available to teachers in the United States.
Ms. Chacko’s and Mr. Morris’s candidacy, which took approximately 24 months to complete, involved a number of assessments on teachers’ content knowledge, differentiation in instruction, teaching practice and learning environment, and effective and reflective practice. Sixty percent of their total score came from the creation of an extensive teaching portfolio that must include descriptive aspects of lessons or assignments, new and original analyses and reflections on teaching practice, samples of student work, and classroom videos.
For over 30 years, The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has awarded National Board Certification to those teachers who have demonstrated accomplished instructional practice and leadership in their schools and communities. The certification process takes most teachers 1-3 years to complete, and it is considered the “gold standard” in teacher certification.
Since 1995, approximately 2,000 teachers in New York State have achieved National Board Certification, and it is estimated that only 3% of the teaching population nationwide is made up of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs).
Ms. Chacko and Mr. Morris are among a small group of Bellmore-Merrick teachers who have earned this prestigious recognition.