Stephanie Willis, third grade teacher at McKinley School in Westfield, demonstrates effective reading and writing techniques during the Summer Literacy Institute, launched by the school district and attended by 25 elementary teachers. Incoming fourth graders (from rear, front row) Max Owens, Katey Peretz, Emelia Fowler and Rachel Jones, and incoming sixth graders Ana Fowler and Elaina Jones participate in the mini lesson. Credits: Westfield Public Schools
Westfield Schools Literacy Workshop Hits the Mark
Saturday, August 24, 2013 • 9:25pm
As summer comes to a close, teachers in all six elementary schools in Westfield honed their skills by attending a four-day Summer Literacy Institute. Led by McKinley teachers Dana Passananti and Stephanie Willis, 25 teachers reinforced and extended their mastery in implementing the school district’s Readers and Writers Workshop model of literacy instruction.
“This workshop gives teachers tools that strengthen students’ skills as they become independent readers and versatile writers,” explained Marc Biunno, Principal of McKinley School.
In addition to attending informational and discussion sessions as well as collaborating with grade level colleagues, teachers practiced with district students during an effective mini lesson and one-on-one reading conferences.
Christina Cleaver, second grade teacher at Franklin School, commented, “This is an incredible experience to meet with colleagues and discuss new curriculum.”
“Everyone is in a different place in their careers,” stated Cleaver, who is entering her sixth year in the profession. “Dana and Stephanie are providing so many practical ideas that I can use in my classroom – and this hands-on approach is a great way for us to get involved,” she added.
New teacher Suzanne Toriello stated, “This is absolutely wonderful and has reinforced my passion for wanting to teach.”
Literacy workshops are provided as professional development throughout the year through Westfield’s Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Program (CIP). Paul Pineiro, Assistant Superintendent of CIP, explained, “By offering this workshop in the summer we are giving veteran teachers a refresher and providing our new teachers with a great head start to the new year.”