NS0 is an affiimative-action

equal-oppoitunity employei.

!"##$%$ "'

Bepaitment of

Nichigan State
Eiickson Ball
62u Faim Lane, Room
East Lansing, NI

Fax: S17-4S2-279S

April 20, 2014

Dear School Administrator:

It is with great pleasure that I write to recommend Miss Brittney Hartley to your
school. Miss Hartley distinguished herself as an outstanding teacher intern in our
secondary mathematics teacher preparation program and she will no doubt continue
to grow and excel as a first year teacher and beyond.

First thing you should know is that as a graduate of our program Brittney is well
prepared to begin a teaching career focused on making public education a first rate
education for all students. MSU offers a high quality program that is rigorous and
far-reaching – it provides breadth and depth of knowledge about the ecology of
schools and classrooms and about research on teaching and students’ learning.
Furthermore, this program immerses teacher candidates in the work of teaching
through service learning and course field experiences at all stages of the program. It
then culminates with a yearlong internship in a mentor teacher’s classroom
supported by four master’s level courses, a field instructor, and mentor teacher. In
short, the MSU teacher preparation program is rigorous with a very selective
process of admission and graduation. It has been ranked as the No. 1 program by the
U.S. News and World Report that for the past 20 consecutive years.

Before I share Miss Hartley’s accomplishments in my course I should also tell you
that I am a member of the faculty in the Department of Teacher Education and have
worked for the past 16 years in the teacher preparation program both as a course
instructor and field supervisor of teacher candidates. I also teach in our Master’s and
Ph.D. programs. This past year I served both as a field instructor and also as the
course instructor of the Master’s level courses (TE 802 and TE 804) in the Fall and
Spring semesters of the 2013-14 academic year. These two courses are designed to
support and advance the interns’ practical work in their internship classroom
throughout the year with readings and course projects. I can attest to the quality of
these courses and to the work the interns in my courses produced this year.

In these courses the teacher candidates engage in individual and collaborative
teacher research projects focused on the mathematics they are teaching, their
students’ mathematical strengths and struggles, and on mathematics teaching
practices that empower students as learners of mathematics. This year interns
completed several individual teaching experiments in their own math classroom,
they generated two substantive Unit Planning and Reflection artifacts, and they
completed at least three Lesson Studies. The goals of these projects were to design
and reflect on some aspect of ambitious and equitable mathematics teaching
practice in their own internship classroom.

All of Brittney’s work in my two courses has been outstanding. Brittney took every single
one of her course assignments as opportunities for growth for herself and her students.
Brittney’s strong commitment for her students’ learning is evident. We can easily see this
in her Mathematics Teaching Philosophy and throughout her Teaching Portfolio. Right
from the start of the internship she focused on building her students’ confidence as math
learners promoting perseverance and hard work. Using stories of her own mathematics
learning experiences she is able to convince her students that struggle is part of the learning
process and perseverance will pay off. Brittney also worked really hard at making sure her
learning goals were clear to herself and her students and she prepared meaningful lessons
that engaged students in exploring mathematical relationships. All throughout the year she
explored how to make her mathematics lessons more relatable and relevant to her students’

In short, Brittney’s desire to help students engage with challenging mathematical ideas and
to experience success and ownership of that mathematics were evident in all of her course
projects. She shared her insights not only in her papers, she shared her insights and
wonderings with classmates and gave generous feedback and advice to peers during our
face-to-face and online seminars and to her lesson study partners. I have no doubt that
Brittney will be a teacher leader when the time comes, she is generous, collaborative, and
really insightful about her own teaching and about learning from feedback, including
feedback from her students.

In conclusion, I give Miss Hartley my highest recommendation. She is a well-started
novice teacher who is deeply committed to teaching students rigorous mathematics. I
highly recommend her to your school. I cannot tell you how proud I am to have served as
Brittney’s mathematics methods course instructor this year and am very excited with her
accomplishments as a student in my class and as a teacher intern in her internship
classroom. I am looking forward to seeing her start a teaching career and follow her
success for years to come. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any
questions or need clarifications on anything I have shared here.


Sandra Crespo, Ph.D
Associate Professor
Department of Teacher Education
116P Erickson Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
Tel: (517) 353-3035
E-mail: crespo@msu.edu