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Amber Whiting

Saint Marys University of Minnesota

Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs
Portfolio Entry Documenting a Guided Learning Process for Wisconsin Teacher
Standard 10
EDUW 696 Portfolio Design and Presentation
Martha Kronholm, Instructor
April 23, 2016

Families and Community

Wisconsin Teacher Standard #10 Professionalism is stated as: Teachers are
connected to other teachers and the community. The teacher fosters relationships
with school colleagues, parents and agencies in the larger community to support
students learning and well-being. I pride myself on building meaningful
relationships with students and parents. The past two years I have repaired a
relationship between a family and our school. I found that these parents had been
frustrated with some issues in the past. They felt as if they were being judged. I
realized that these parents had had learning difficulties themselves and may have
been offended when they were talked down too. I made sure to use common
language when talking about their child and be respectful and caring. This particular
family had a lot to deal with and it was very overwhelming for them. I also
concentrated on major issues and small gains. The child and his familys whole
attitude changed. It may have been the most rewarding thing that I have done in
my teaching career. The parents often ask to speak to me. I am the main contact
between the parents and the school. This accomplishment has been very rewarding.
The example above falls within criteria of job description but it exemplifies my
philosophy of building meaningful relationships.
I enjoy being a part of Pulaski Public Schools. I have found the things that I do
to build relationships with students, parents, community, and colleagues come very
naturally. I also follow the strategy of keeping it simple. I attend many
extracurricular events which seem to make a big impact on my students. My
husband and I attended the Middle School Band Concert. The band performed and it
was great to see past students who have moved up to middle school. Several of my
former students came to say hello and tell me all the exciting news from the

middle school. I also will be attending the play Grease with my husband and
daughter. There are several of my students who have older siblings that are in high
school. There are several fun activities the elementary school puts on. I attended a
family night in past years. My daughter really loved it and the students all really
liked getting to meet her. I have tried to attend some events that are delivered by
the middle school, high school, and elementary. I hope to be with the district a very
long time and I can only imagine seeing my current students participate in sports or
plays. It is really neat to think about them as productive future students.
I consider the key to good relationships with colleagues to be communication.
I take the regular education teachers opinions very seriously. I make sure to send
many emails to check on student behavior and progress. I am very approachable
and available for their concerns. I always take suggestions. I pride myself on
keeping an open mind. I feel that I want the best idea even if someone else came
up with it.
I set meaningful goals every year. I find that goal setting enables me to see
the scope of the year. I can be sure to see what the end outcome I want is. I set
goals for myself and my students. National Board Core Proposition #5: Teachers are
members of learning communities something that I feel very strongly about. I have
set the ultimate goal of achieving my Masters in Education and I attained additional
licensing through Norda 10-Sped. These programs foster a learning community. I
discuss topics via google hangout and posting discussions on the internet. I like
discussing the issues on education and staying current. I think that by being a

member of a learning community teachers can stay up to date with the newest
trends in education.
Wisconsin Teacher Standard #10: Select goals from knowledge, skills, and
dispositions, directs my student goals. The progress monitoring tools are very useful
to teachers. I use the data to figure out the academic areas that my students need
to improve in. I collect more data on the students receiving special education
services than the general student population. This data allows me to change
programs if progress monitoring data decreases. This year I have set most student
goals of increasing reading scores. The data I get allows me to specifically
determine if the goal should be to increase fluency, decoding, comprehension, etc.
I concentrate on fluency with my younger students and it seems that
comprehension in content areas is a bigger concern for my older students.
Leader and Collaborator
Danielson Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities drives my teaching goals. I
am constantly reflecting on what is working for my students. I always think of my
professional responsibilities as part of a circle. The student data drives the way that
I teach and then this hopefully produces the best results. I have a responsibility to
help each student the best way possible. I collaborate with another special
education teacher at my school and we decide what are plan is. Many times in the
past we have decided that there is a specific method that needs to be done for a
student. One example is LLI or Lexia. If we need to get trained on a new program
because it is the best fit for the student then that is what we do. I have taken
training so I can implement specific programs.

Professional Development Goals: are currently being reached. I set out the
last few year with a huge undertaking to achieve my masters degree. I have
worked extremely hard to achieve this ultimate professional goal. My masters work
was very meaningful as it had me implement different strategies to help my
students and collect data on these ideas that I tried. I will continue to pursue
professional development opportunities as they arise. I really was interested in
crises prevention training I recently attended and I may want to pursue this
information further. I have also looked into reading specialist or reading
interventionist programs. I would not rule out a future professional development
goal of taking classes to gain one of these licenses. I want to work in my current
position for years but this goal may be further looked into. I will continue to attend
the professional development that our district provides. I feel very lucky to work at a
progressive district that uses its resources to keep teachers trained in the newest
strategies and techniques.
As I mentioned above the majority of the work that I do outside of my
classroom is based on communication. I spend many extra minutes communicating
with parents. The growth of technology has allowed me to contact parents while I
am at home. Recently, two students that I work with had amazing weeks. They
received mostly good reports on their behavior sheets and I was so proud of them I
sent an email on Friday when I got home. I use my phone to email parents quit
frequently. I sometimes send reminders on Sunday to help parents. These are all
things that are extra. It means that I am completely involved with the school. I am
thinking about helping students all the time. This shows that I extend my
responsibilities well outside of school hours. I often make notes at home over the
weekend if I think of a good teaching strategy or good behavior strategy.

I continually network when I am outside of the school building. I have many

teachers in my family. My husband is a teacher as is my dad. I have two cousins
who are teachers. My husband comes from very large family and he has 6 aunts and
uncles who are teachers. His sister and mom both work at schools. He has 5 cousins
who are teachers. I get to discuss many of the issues that are affecting all the
schools and the best part is getting to see what other schools are doing. I can see
how other schools are handling intervention time, the Wisconsin Forward Exam, and
many other things. This group of people give me a limitless resource for questions
and advice. This exemplifies the value that my family puts on education. It really is
a lifestyle not a job. The most useful information I have gained is from the other
teachers in my family. They have experience and as I continue in this career I
understand how important experience really is. When considering what makes a
good teacher great, I would say the main factor is experience.
The most rewarding work that I have done is an advocate for my students. I
briefly described the situation above. I work with a family that is on free and
reduced lunch. This last year they suffered a loss in the family. They have had great
difficulties. The first time I met the parents it appeared that they had learning
difficulties. The father told me that he was provided special education services
when he was in school.
The family had a very troubled relationship with the school. I think that at
some point someone may have said something that the family took as offensive.
Different people at the school had called them with concerns about hygiene and
other issues. I think that this further strained the relationship. They had a very bad
view of education and at that time a bad view of the school. I approached this
situation as a caring person. I truly felt awful for the family and the student had

major behavior problems at school. I understood that I must show the family that I
care about them and then we could start to make progress at school. I will
demonstrate in the emails that I opened the line of communication. I made sure to
give more compliments and try not to be negative. The family had an immense
amount of negativity to deal with.
I found that with simple compliments and caring I repaired the relationship
between this family and the school. Once the rapport once established with the
family we began to make major strides with the student. Some of these things may
be considered within the realm of the duties of my job but I really cared about this
situation. I considered it most of the time and went well above the normal job
duties. I firmly believe if I would only done what was required I never would have
had such good results. I am a major advocate for this student and as I mentioned
above, I am now the go to person in dealing with issues with him. I built the families
confidence and the students. I found that through building this confidence they are
received better by other employees of the school. We are beginning to get rid of the
negative feelings.
The second piece of evidence of my work with families and community is a
program from the middle school play Grease. This is a sample of how I am
involved with my students and the community. I also attended the middle school
band concert and other activities at my school. I found that attending students
activities goes a very long way in developing relationships. Attending a play or band
recital may seem trivial but it truly makes a difference. I have a very busy life and it
takes effort to attend extracurricular activities. I do the best I can to attend these
events. The students notice and understand that I appreciate them. Once this
happens it translates into major success in the classroom. If students dont know

that I care about them they will not buy into what I am trying to teach them. The
students I am currently working with know that I attended these events. I told them
I like to see them participate in different events. They appreciate this and often
respond better to lessons.
There are so many students with mental health issues. I am so sad to see
that students who are young are exhibiting severe issues. I was greatly affected by
this issue. I attended and am certified in crisis prevention and mental health
training. This was a professional development opportunity that I felt was extremely
important. I also gained a student on my caseload whom I wanted to be prepared
I needed to have strategies to help this student. I have taken human
development classes in college but this training specifically dealt with different
mental health disorders. I gained a major understanding of different illnesses and
strategies to help students try to deal with these issues. I think the training allowed
for me to make an overall better plan for the student. It gives me a different
perspective to give to the school psychologist or other health care workers. I feel
that this training was something that I chose to do on my own so that I could
become a better teacher. I learned valuable information that I specifically used to
teach my student.
I like to take advantage of any opportunities to attend professional
development. I love teaching but I love learning. I find classes such as the mental
health training immensely informative. After I attend this type of class, I am
constantly thinking about it. I like analyzing situations differently. I go as far to apply
new training to situations outside of school. I was using new terms and mental

issues to discuss our favorite television characters. This shows that I truly live my
teaching career. This is not something that I leave at the office.
I would like to further my knowledge about autism. I have some basic
knowledge but I am looking for extra classes on autism. This will be the next
professional development that I will attend. I find autism very interesting and I feel
that I will be teaching more students that are on the autism spectrum. I hope that
this future training will provide better strategies to help these students. There are
still not a lot of resources to help teachers handle autism. I like to stay as educated
as possible when it comes to new trends in education.
I would say the ultimate professional development is achieving a Masters
Degree. This has been a long goal of mine and after working through all my classes I
feel that I am a better teacher. I learned new strategies, methods, and gained ideas
from other students in my class. I conducted my own research and documented the
results. I sacrificed an enormous amount of time to achieve this. The most reward
that I will get for it is the feeling of being a better teacher. I will not get a lot of
financial gain but I do feel that I have become a master of teaching. I can step back
and assess myself. I will strive for excellence and continue to work extremely hard.
I am a member of the Reading Curriculum Committee. I help collaborate with
professionals from all of our district elementary schools to build a new curriculum.
(BYOC) I help collaborate with staff to roll out this implementation process. I have
presented materials to people on my team and teachers in my building. I have also
been involved in a book club for two years where, I looked over one resource and I
am going to start the second resource soon. I am responsible for reading the book
and the then being prepared to collaborate with the other members of the

committee. It takes a lot of time and patience to do this. Once we discuss these
issues I then am responsible for relaying the outcome to my colleagues. I then get
to be leader in my building. I am available for other staff members to ask questions
and I am even the person to discuss these new topics with the principal.