Summer Engagement Series Focuses on Gaps

Standards Not Covered Due to Closure Will Be Addressed in Summer Series
Posted on 06/01/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Standards Not Covered Due to Closure Will Be Addressed in Summer SeriesThe learning engagement series published weekly in The Weakley County Press since mid-April will shift the focus to addressing identified gaps beginning in June. The newly renamed Summer Engagement Series will build on the foundation laid by the activities produced during the school closure and will be written by a team representing each of the elementary schools.

“I’m grateful for the staff who took on writing, editing and even distribution roles during the seven weeks of closure,” said Terri Stephenson, instructional supervisor for pre-K, kindergarten and elementary grades. “And I’m delighted that we will have some fresh ideas from such an experienced group of teachers to tackle engagement during the weeks ahead when it’s harder to encourage students to take time for learning.”

The first seven weeks of engagement activities had Stephenson and pre-K consultant Karen Fowler focusing on Pre-K reading, writing, math and purposeful play. Megan Moore, District Math Coach, gathered math activities for kindergarten through 5th grade. Jessica Wade, District RTI Coordinator, served as the writer for reading and writing suggestions for K-5. Karen Campbell, Communications Director, wrote each Story for the Young Reader and Purposeful Play suggestions for K-5.

The new team of writers recently gathered for a writers conference where the history of the project was shared as well as learning the team had gained from the ever-evolving experience. A report from Stephenson also covered the gaps that a survey of teachers had identified resulted from the early closure.

The new writers will continue the summer series through the end of July.

Taking on the Story for Young Reader will be Amy Lawrence of Gleason School. After graduating from Gleason as Valedictorian in 1990, she attended Bethel University for a degree in Elementary Education. While there, she won the Isabel Wheeler Writing Award. She then went on to earn a master’s degree at Union University, as well as a Library certification. She taught Kindergarten at McKenzie Elementary for 8 years, and then moved to Librarian at Gleason School. She’s been in the field of education for a total of 26 years. She says her passions are reading, writing stories, playing the piano, being outdoors, and traveling. She lives in Gleason with her husband, Lee, and their 12-year-old son, Luke.

Danielle Scott VanCleave will write the Purposeful Play suggestions that will promote learning through arts activities and outdoor play. She is a 2nd grade teacher at Sharon School. A graduate of UTM, she recently completed her 7th year at Sharon. VanCleave shares she has a vested interested in Weakley County Schools due to having four children who are products of the system - three graduates and one still attending. The Dresden resident believes in supporting the community. This year her students participated in the Blankets of Hope ministry. She has also partnered with Farm Bureau for the last few years in producing a garden at Sharon School. She was named 2020 Farm Bureau Teacher of the Year and served on the Weakley County Textbook Adoption Committee for ELA this year.

Tiffany Frazier and April Fishel will work with Wade in developing English Language Arts suggestions for the summer.

Frazier has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in curriculum theory and practice and an education specialist degree in educational leadership. She has taught in the Weakley County School System for 10 years, all as a Kindergarten teacher at Martin Primary School. She is the mother of two boys, an upcoming first grader and a three-year old. She says that as a mother during the COVID-19 pandemic, she found that the weekly activities in the Press “not only engaging for my children, but also very easy for me to do with them.”

April Fishel had been teaching at Martin Elementary School for 18 years in both third and fourth grades. She serves as a co-sponsor for the after school STEM Club and calls it her favorite club to work with because, “I love watching the students ‘think outside the box.’ She also serves as a member of the MES Data Team, as the sponsor of the Charger Scholars Program and as a county level mentor as needed. During the closure, Fishel gained permission from publishers to read books aloud to her students via social media. She lives in Greenfield, and is married with one daughter, who will be entering high school this fall.

Lisa Whitworth and Mikaela Roberts will develop math activities with Moore.

Lisa Whitworth teaches 4th grade at Dresden Elementary School. She will be starting her 18th year at DES in the 2020-21 school year. She has served on a grant writing committee for the Focused School Grant which netted the school an over $300,000 award. She was part of the team that helped to advance DES to claim the prestigious SCORE Award. She has also been involved in state assessment committees helping to develop test questions for the TCAP tests. She is a former DES and County Elementary Teacher of the Year. A graduate of Bethel (College) University in McKenzie, she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees there. She is married to Jamie Whitworth and they live in Gleason. They have two daughters and two grandchildren.

Mikaela Roberts teaches Kindergarten at Greenfield School. She has been there for two years. Prior to coming to Greenfield, she taught in Jackson for a year and a half. She says she found the small town of Greenfield, through her husband Logan, and notes, “Our first and smartest decision as a married couple was to move to Greenfield, Tennessee.” She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin in Education and then continued with a master’s degree in Reading from Arkansas State University.