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April

1, 2016
To whom it may concern:
I have known Rebecca Blue for the 2015-2016 school year. She is an Art and ESL teacher here at
Highland Junior High. I am the Instructional Coach here and so am in a unique position to speak to her
abilities. My role involves significant observation and feedback with newer teachers, so while Rebecca
has been evaluated by our administrators, ours is a collaborative and improvements-based relationship.
Over this past academic year I have had many opportunities to see Rebecca teach both ESL and Art. I
have observed her in whole group settings with tier one instruction, small group work for
differentiation, and one on one time with students needs. Rebecca has a paraprofessional in her class
that she has utilized to the utmost. They collaborate on lesson planning, feedback sessions based on
student achievement, and the specific needs of the ESL student. The two of them have meshed well as
educational partners and it has been an asset to have the two of them in class together.
Rebecca has worked hard to create her classes in such a way that they are mindful of students current
abilities while pushing them to new heights. That is just as true in her art class. Many of our students
enter an art class thinking all they have to do is draw. They do not know of the skills that accompany the
ability to create art. So Rebecca entered the class not just having to teach these elements just having to
justify and explain all of them to her students. She models the work she expects so students have the
opportunity to see, visually, the skill in action. And she models that while explaining her process so
students have as much information before being asked to work independently. While those students
work independently, Rebecca mindfully moves through the classroom to monitor students, offer specific
feedback and praise, and give constructive criticism so students feel the confidence to continue on.
She is clearly passionate about art which anyone can hear in conversation with her. Her website also
has incredible examples of student work that can be tied to her instruction. If you have not yet visited
her site I would encourage you to do so.
It has been a pleasure working with Rebecca this year. I recommend her for the position she is seeking.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Regards
Day Thomas-Smith
Instructional Coach at Highland Junior High, Ogden, Utah
thomassmithd@ogdensd.org
(801737-7739