Introducing Kristina Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Foran, York’s Literacy Coaches
York’s Literacy Coaches, Kristina Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Foran, gave a presentation at the November Academic Boosters meeting. Both women currently teach at YCHS and work two periods per day as literacy coaches.
The role of literacy coaches at YCHS is to help teachers infuse literacy into their curriculum. The literacy coaches work as a resource for teachers, assisting them with literacy development and literacy strategies with the goal of facilitating student achievement within content-specific curriculum. The coaches do not alter curriculum. Rather, they help teachers add activities to help students become more engaged and to understand topics/readings most fully.
Currently, the literacy coaches work with English 9 and 10, Health and American Government classes. The focus is on basic reading strategies and mastery of these skills throughout grades 9 and 10. Not only will students benefit from proficiency in their coursework throughout junior and senior years, but these skills may also prove helpful on standardized tests.
Ms. Fitzgerald and Ms. Foran lead the literacy team at YCHS. This team includes 2-3 representatives from each discipline at the school who provide feedback with regards to literacy coaching needs throughout the school.
Ms. Fitzgerald and Ms. Foran are members of C.A.L.L., Chicago Area Literacy Leaders, and meet three times per year with members from other schools to discuss their literacy programs, participate in professional development exercises and attend lectures.
Academic Booster members present at the meeting participated in a professional development exercise wherein members were given a passage to read and then asked to talk about it. Following a brief and varied discussion, Ms. Fitzgerald and Ms. Foran asked members to re-read the passage with particular questions in mind. Members quickly understood how these prompts helped to read with purpose and focus. The group then engaged in a discussion of the benefit of literacy exercises in aiding students in mastering disciplinary reading. Members talked about the importance of teaching students different reading skills for English reading vs. science reading vs. mathematical reading.
The literacy coaches’ plans for the future include: working on increasing conversations between middle schools and YCHS, and expanding the literacy coaching program to include additional departments beyond the ones currently served.
Introducing: Katie Diebold and Jill Heaton, York’s Instructional Technology Coaches
Academic Boosters Program – October 2, 2014
York’s new Instructional Technology coaches, Katie Diebold and Jill Heaton, gave a presentation at the October Academic Boosters meeting. Ms. Diebold works full time in this role while Ms. Heaton teaches science and spends two periods per day as a coach. They are very enthusiastic about their new roles at YCHS.
Ms. Diebold and Ms. Heaton began their presentation by explaining their roles as instructional technology coaches. Some of the ways they work with teachers include:
- Training teachers how to use the features that Google has to offer
- Working with teachers to integrate technology resources and activities into the curriculum
- Helping teachers to transform current lessons to utilize technology
- Working with teachers to turn their websites into instructional tools to enhance student learning
Ms. Diebold and Ms. Heaton are also looking forward to working with teachers to help students become responsible digital citizens and to assist each student with building a strong digital footprint.
District 205 currently uses Chromebooks as the device of choice for students given the thousands of apps available for use, their quick start-up time, ease of use, and built-in virus protection.
York currently has 266 Chromebooks divided among 9 technology carts. During first semester classes using Chromebooks include: all health and Spanish II, some math, and some ELL classes. Second semester classes using Chromebooks will include: health, cohort world studies, cohort English, honors biology, and some math and some ELL classes.
Students enrolled in classes with access to Chromebooks are using the devices for interactive classroom activities. Away from school students can use their Google Apps for Education Accounts to view screencasts created by York teachers and engage in real-time collaboration on group projects.
York has a 1:1 technology vision for the future, meaning that the school has a goal of having one device per student. Timing on achieving this goal has not yet been determined.
Additionally, Ms. Diebold and Ms. Heaton shared that among proposed new classes for the 2015-16 school year is a Technology Services Internship which would focus on the creation of a student-run tech help desk. The class is currently in curriculum development.
Ms. Diebold surveyed parents present and found significant interest in a parent program to learn more about Google and the applications that the York students are using.
Thank you, Ms. Diebold and Ms. Heaton for your informative presentation.
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York Academic Boosters are committed to raising school and community awareness of academic achievement at York High School. We do this by partnering with York and the community to recognize both high achievers and those who strive to improve; working to increase participation in and recognition of academically related clubs and activities; and advocating for strong and diverse course offerings that challenge every student.
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