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The Breaker Lighthouse
April 29, 2016
Happy Friday BAMS family,
Last night I had the distinct honor of watching Mrs. Lisa Waizinger receive the BAMS Teacher of the Year award. At the ceremony, there was a Teacher of the Year candidate representing every school in the district. As Teacher of the Year recipients were called to the stage, a short story written by that teacher was read to all in attendance. As I sat and listened to each and every teacher story, a clear trend started to emerge. Almost 100% of the teachers receiving this prestigious award told a story about a difficult learner and how with persistence, skill, hard work, flexibility, and above all else a relentless focus to meet that student’s needs, were able to impact a child’s life and help set them up for success as adults.
Today’s edition of the Breaker Lighthouse sheds light on another one of our new intervention classes. This article, written by Mrs. Cammie Dunn, highlights the frustrations, victories, and laser-like focus it will take to ensure that every BAMS student learns at a high level. Our Mission is clear and our most valuable resources (our teachers and parents) are uniting to ensure that our best students are challenged and pushed while at the same time our struggling students’ needs are being met. We are fortunate to say the least. Please enjoy today’s article.
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. -Mother Teresa
Change is an enviable human experience, and it is something I have fully embraced throughout my personal life and teaching career. When I was presented with the opportunity to teach a class of struggling learners, I jumped on the chance to connect with students at the opposite end of the spectrum from my AAA/GATE students. With our new administrator’s passion and desire to meet the needs of all learners at our site, I eagerly agreed to work with the students on our campus who struggled with turning in assignments and staying on top of their classwork and homework. I also liked the teamwork concept embedded in theory behind this class. Unlike the traditional larger middle school classrooms, this smaller class would involve parents and a team of adults communicating on a regular basis in an effort to help each student. Originally, the idea was to fill the class with 6th grade students struggling with reading and writing. With a background in teaching 6th grade English, I was confident I could succeed. Yet, as the school year unfolded and the needs of our struggling student population was more closely examined, we realized we had a greater need for a flexible teacher to help “clear the zeros” for struggling students in all grade levels and in a variety of subject areas. My job requirements changed, and I had no choice but to embrace it. Change is good, right?!
All my preparation and carefully thought-out lesson plans flew out the window. Consequently, I wasn’t so sure I was the right person for the job due to the glaring reality that ALL the students needed help in math. With my confidence waning, I knew I needed help. As a GATE teacher, I am well aware of our eager parent population; therefore, with the help of Mrs. Alward, our academic advisor, we reached out to our parent volunteers, and recruited a small group of dedicated parents to help. Yes, change is good! Confident once again, I began the school year.
Seven months later together with parent helpers, I meet daily with my class of 17 students who are reminiscent of The Breakfast Club, and we are making small changes in the right direction. I focus on responsibility, honesty, clearing away the zeros, and helping them with social and emotional issues that greatly affect all of them. We have had some grand successes with motivated students moving out and back to their electives. Yet, as we approach the end of school year, it is apparent that there have been far more small changes or “ripples” than grand successes. In the end, one can hope that those small changes like learning how to email a teacher, or talk to an adult, or simply learning how to breathe when they are stressed, may one day be the key to their greatest success.
Bernice Ayer Middle School
Period 5 8:45 - 11:00
Break 11:00 - 11:12
Period 3 11:16 - 1:01
Lunch 1:01 - 1:36
Period 1 1:40 - 3:25
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The Capistrano Unified School District prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying in all district activities, programs, and employment based upon actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, color, religion, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, sex, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Reference: AR 1312.3, BP 1312.3 and BP 5183.
Rich Montgomery, Executive Director, Human Resource Services/Compliance
33122 Valle Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
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