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20 May, 2015

To Whom It May Concern:


It is my understanding that Ms. Miranda Voege has applied for a teaching position in your school
district. She has asked me to write a letter of recommendation, per the requirements of your
application process. It is indeed my great pleasure.
My experience working with Ms. Voege includes instruction and supervision. I met Miranda as a
student when she enrolled in the International Education Practicum (EDUC 382), spring semester 2013, a
mini-internship in which Albion College students travel to Heredia, Costa Rica, to learn about
teaching English as a foreign language by apprenticing with in-service Costa Rican teachers at Par
School and doing workshops with peers pre-service teachers studying at Universidad Nacional de
Costa Rica. Fall semester 2013, I both taught and supervised Miranda in Elementary Literacy Pedagogy
(EDUC 371), a field experience intensive course that connects research-based evidence on early
literacy learning to classroom practice. Throughout this time Miranda offered me several
opportunities to get to know her better and build a sound professional relationship. We discussed a
number of engaging questions about teaching and learning that she was exploring by reflecting
carefully on her collection of experiences in classrooms and what she was reading in the professional
literature. Fall semester 2014, I again had the privilege of teaching Mirandafor her student teaching
internship in a first grade classroom at Gordon Elementary School in Marshall, Michigan.
I noticed immediately how Miranda reflected her foundational commitments to see learning as
challenging and rewarding, and therefore expecting children to be able to engage in something new
with full attention and anticipation, whenever she worked with them. Although an English language
arts major, Miranda has always reflected a sincere interest in an interdisciplinary approach, fitting fine
arts, math, science and social studies seamlessly with the language and literacy curriculum she asked
children to examine and explore. She further demonstrated a clear respect for personalized learning
and a commitment to figure out how to shape her planning and preparation in light of the range of
students she worked with. These values played a key role in her, as well as others, learning every step
she has taken on the path toward certification. It has been repeatedly rewarding to listen to Miranda
talk about what children and youth can do when they engage multiple subject areas via multiple
methods to learn and portray their learning.
Miranda made a number of efforts across her programs of study to bridge these commitments with
her growing understanding of the time-intensive processes of teaching and learning. For example, she
never backed away from asking children to expand on what they could write and read, including both
what they would choose and what she might recommend. She further demonstrated keen
observations of how children use prior knowledge to make connections when reading and writing in
the literacy pedagogy course (EDUC 371) I taught. Miranda used an assessment study to document
student learning, keeping her focus on the key research-based elements involved in early literacy
learning was clear and comprehensive. In the Maymester practicum, a precursor to student teaching,
she prepared a well-articulated curriculum unit, using multiple modes of activity, coupled with ongoing reading and writing, to support childrens learning on the theme of sustainability and the
environment. Mirandas work with children in a special education resource room, not only reflected
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explicit connections to Common Core state standards but also relevant ties to the language and
thinking children bring forward from their lived experiences.
During her student teaching, Miranda reflected how much she had extended and broadened the
scope of her vision of teaching and learning. She highlighted these in her professional portfolio in
terms of her teaching philosophy, demonstration of dispositions (i.e., Habits of Mind at Albion
College), and documentation of effectiveness according to the Danielson Framework for Teaching
Evaluation Instrument. More specifically, Miranda provided evidence of her commitment to recognizing
all students have strengths and knowledge that they bring with them to learning by prompting
curiosity; using students strengths to create a safe environment in which risk-taking is encouraged
and rewarded by implementing a more personalized learning approach; and, extending learning
by creating opportunities for students to make connections to self, curriculum and community
to help them work towards proficiency and excellence.
In her Capstone portfolio, Miranda illustrated her synthesis on teaching. She highlighted the use of
high expectations and multiple forms of interaction for teaching and learning. Accordingly, Miranda
explained how she provided a structure to engage all students: For any student to be comfortable in the
classroom, an environment of respect and safety must existI strive to make my classroom a community in which
everyone is free to learn, act and think in their own wayIn order to work with these differences, I created various
groups that I used constantly throughout the semester, some were homogeneous while others were purposefully
heterogeneous. This was to encourage students who were working on the same skills to work together, but also to allow
students time and space to learn different perspectives that their peers can give them that I may not be able to...I also
recognize that for me to encourage students to love learning and continue learning, I have to demonstrate this as well.
Inquiry, active engagement and varied interaction clearly guided her approach to teaching and
enriched students approach to learning. Mirandas aims toward academic excellence and professional
development have been commendable from beginning to end.
Miranda Voeges broad set of professional experiences has required particular skill development with
listening, learning about diverse individuals interests and needs, engaging them in familiar and new
ideas, and enhancing public support for students and teachers. Relatedly, her interest in your school
district fits seamlessly with your mission of striving for excellence by valuing collaboration, creativity,
innovation and respectful relationships. Her personal manner and academic accomplishments reflect
an ethic of care and excellence in her aim to become an elementary teacher.
In my estimation, Ms. Miranda Voege is a mature person. I have confidence that she will bring to any
educational position a sincere commitment to professionalism, a remarkable work ethic, and a
thoughtful sense of humor. I am pleased to recommend her. If you have any questions, please
contact me by phone (517 629 0559) or Email (kshanton@albion.edu).
Cordially,

Kyle D. Shanton
Kyle D. Shanton, Ph. D., associate professor,
Education Department, chair