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2300

Shermer Rd., Northbrook, IL 60062-6700


English Department

http://gbn.glenbrook225.org

June 10, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:


Casey Clack completed her student teaching with me during the 2013-2014 school year at
Glenbrook North High School. When I first met Casey, she impressed me as a thoughtful
and motivated teacher who was committed to making the most of her experience.
Throughout her time at Glenbrook North, this impression was only strengthened as Casey
planned lessons and assumed responsibility for teaching two of my 9th grade honors
English classes.
Northbrook is an affluent community in the northern suburbs of Chicago. 96% of our
students enter college post-graduation. The learning environment is competitive, and many
studentsespecially at the honors levelexperience a great deal of stress related to their
academic progress and their grades. The challenge of teaching 9th grade honors English
involves both pushing students beyond their comfort level in terms of critical thinking and
also providing the appropriate amount of support to help students manage their work load
and feel successful as learners. Casey demonstrated significant growth in her ability to do
this from the beginning of her student teaching in January to when she finished in May. She
worked hard to understand the culture and expectations of the school.
At the start of the semester, she observed conferences I had with students who were
struggling. Once Casey took over, she continued these conferences on her own and
maintained the log I started by adding her own notes. She also communicated very
effectively with concerned parents. I specifically remember asking her about a student who
was having some difficulty. I told her that she would have to call the students parents. She
responded by telling me that she already had spoken to themtwice. Throughout her
interaction with students, parents, and other members of the faculty, Casey communicated
clearly and professionally.
In the classroom, Casey quickly established her authority after assuming responsibility for
teaching. Adjusting to a new teacher is challenging for students. The fact that the teacher is
a novice and that she will only be there temporarily, makes it even more so. Casey
respected the routines I had established first semester, but she wasnt afraid to experiment,
to take risks, and to introduce her own vision for what the classroom could be. I supported
her in this effort, believing that it was important for the students, and for her, to take
ownership of the classroom during her time at Glenbrook North. Caseys approach to
learning was student-centered. She had no choice in the texts she had to teach: Romeo
and Juliet and Willa Cathers novel O Pioneers! She did, however, have autonomy over how
to teach them. I shared my teaching materials with her, but Casey created her own lesson

plans and projects. She successfully led students through a critical reading of both
books.
As the culmination of the Romeo and Juliet unit, Casey drew upon her knowledge of drama
to create a performance project for students. In groups, students prepared to act out scenes
from the play. They designed costumes and sets, chose props, blocked their scenes and
memorized lines. Through this project, students were immersed in the experience of
Shakespeare's tragic story of young love. I attended the performances. It was clear to me
that students had gained a deep understanding of the text and the power of Shakespeare's
language. In addition, this project required collaboration and it allowed students to express
themselves creatively (one memorable performance was set on another planet). One
component of the evaluation was a group evaluation completed by students. When
completing group projects, there often is a student who, for whatever reason, does not fulfill
his or her responsibility to the group. When this situation arises, evaluation can be a
challenge. Casey dealt with this situation in a fair and reasonable way. She considered the
individual student's circumstances as well as the concerns of the group. I was impressed by
her management of this conflict and the resolution she achieved.
I hope this letter provides some insight into Casey Clack's strengths as a teacher. I know
that she will continue to grow and learn if given the opportunity to join your faculty. She is a
thoughtful and dedicated professional and I recommend her for any teaching position that
may be open at your school.
Please dont hesitate to contact me if you have additional questions about Casey and her
student teaching experience.
Sincerely,

Nicholas Timmer
Glenbrook North High School
2300 Shermer Road
Northbrook, Illinois 60062
847-509-2480
ntimmer@glenbrook225.org

Phone: 847.272.6400
Fax: 847.509.2411