Klotylda Phillippi, Ph.D.

Educational Studies, Teacher Education Language, Literacy and Culture

610 E. UNIVERSITY AVE., 1302f SEB ANN ARBOR, MI 48109 734.763.5654 klophil@umich.edu

March 9, 2013

To Whom It May Concern: It is my pleasure to request that you consider Gabrielle DeSano for a teaching position in your school district. I was Gabrielle’s instructor for three courses at the University of Michigan – Developmental Reading and Writing in the Elementary School, taken in the fall, 2011; Individualizing Reading and Writing Instruction in the Elementary School, in the winter, 2012 and Facilitating Classroom Discussions in the winter, 2012. In addition, I was her field instructor (ED 307 – Learning in and From Practice) during Gabrielle’s first two semesters when she did her field-based experiences at Tonda Elementary School in the Plymouth-Canton Community School district. Our Facilitating Classroom Discussions course met at Scarlett Middle School in Ann Arbor and I observed Gabrielle’s teaching with sixth graders there. The combined experience of instructing Gabrielle in our courses and observing her teaching and interactions with students and teachers in the schools provided me with significant insights upon which to base my recommendation for her. Our courses at the University of Michigan focus on best practices, keeping equity and social justice in the fore, and providing accurate content knowledge. Our program requires students to thoughtfully reflect on their own teaching as well as the teaching of others. Gabrielle did an outstanding job in these areas throughout the courses and into student teaching. An example of the importance Gabrielle placed on having strong relationships with her students is the following quote from her second semester selfreflection: One routine thing that I always do with the kids is making time to say good morning or hello to each and every one. I make sure that I ask EVERY SINGLE student how they are doing that particular day. By doing this, each student is aware that they have meaning and they are noticed by me. I really want my students to know that I care about each and every one of them, and I never want them to feel as if they are not of importance in the classroom. Each and every student has a role in the classroom environment, and I hope I have showed my third graders that they do matter to me. Gabrielle was an excellent student in a class of excellent students. Her academic work was of high quality but moreover; her teaching was thoughtfully planned and carefully presented. She clearly demonstrated interest in keeping children and families in focus as she provided standards-based learning opportunities. Her interactions with students, teachers and staff always reflected her professionalism and respect for others.

Gabrielle had experiences in planning and teaching at two elementary grade levels and one middle school class during the practicum for my courses. She did her elementary field experiences in first and third grades with very talented mentor teachers. All the teachers focused on Four Blocks instruction including independent reading, guided reading, writing workshop and word study. For my language arts courses in the elementary school she planned and enacted assessments of students which included running records, Developmental Reading Inventory, Qualitative Reading Inventory, collecting work samples and observational notes. During our first semester together, she completed a semester-long child study of one of her first grade students culminating in a report with which she presented her knowledge of the child’s strengths and needs, provided evidence with her assessments and samples of the child’s work, results of lessons she had planned specifically for the child and her recommendations for further instruction. During our second semester course, she did not focus specifically on one child, but did consider the range of student proficiencies in her class to provide differentiation in her lessons planned for both language arts and social studies. She planned and enacted an interactive read aloud during which she skillfully facilitated a thoughtful discussion of Jacqueline Woodson’s picture book, The Other Side, integrated with discussions of social justice and race issues and connected with her teaching partner’s text for this unit in social studies. Gabrielle worked with culturally and racially diverse middle school students for our Facilitating Classroom Discussions course. She planned and enacted lessons that guided students through challenging social studies textbook reading and discussion and broadened the students’ background knowledge for their work with history of India. Gabrielle was a strong member of her cohort of Teacher Education students. The first year teacher candidates are placed in classrooms in partnerships and some of the planning and teaching was done in collaboration with her partner and her mentor teacher. Unit planning in Social Studies was also done collaboratively. She will most certainly bring this desire to work collegially to your school. You can count on her to also provide freshness and enthusiasm in her work. I am happy to recommend Gabrielle DeSano to you. In addition to her thoughtful work and excellent grades in our Teacher Education program, she has maintained a strong grade point average at the University, earning the distinction of attaining University Honors. She has taken many opportunities to be involved with children at a wide range of grade levels in many diverse communities. Her strong leadership qualities have been evident in our courses and in her volunteer and paid work outside of the University. I have every confidence that she will be a wonderful addition to your teaching staff. Please feel free to contact me if I can provide further support for her. Sincerely,

Klotylda Phillippi, Ph.D.