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March 8, 2018

Dear Sir/Madam:

RE: Reference Letter for Kathleen Steele

I had the utmost pleasure of working with Ms Steele while she completed her final internship at
Heritage Heights School. During her practicum, she independently planned, taught, and
assessed grade 9 English Language Arts and Health. I was pleased from the outset, that
Kathleen wanted to expand her teaching repertoire by choosing ELA, rather than Social Studies
which she has taught before. She worked diligently to become confident in the content material
of her subject matter.

Kathleen demonstrated professionalism and maturity throughout her practicum and consistently
exhibited, fostered and reinforced respect within the student body. Kathleen took into account
the diverse learning, and social-emotional needs of 55 grade nine students and worked
collaboratively in planning and implementing the ILP learner strategies for nine of these
students. Kathleen easily made personal connections with her students and was able to use
these relationships to foster a positive, and respectful classroom management model. Her
students respected her as an educator and endeavoured to achieve the high expectations she
set forward for them.

Kathleen planned for and taught the following units: Poetry, Short Stories, ​Touching Spirit Bear
Novel Study, and Stress and Personal Wellness Choices. Throughout these studies, Kathleen
implemented a variety of engaging formative and summative learning assessments for her
students. These ranged from discussions, annotating and responding to a variety of forms of
literature and media, writing in narrative and poetic formats, visual thinking assessments such
as whiteboard brainstorms, and empathy maps, as well as summative test assessments.
Assessments accessed the range of Bloom's Taxonomy and had students representing their
knowledge and skills orally, visually and in written formats. The visual, media and literature
resources for her lessons were relevant and engaging for her students.

Overall, I was very impressed with Kathleen’s dedication to understanding the grade nine
General Learner Outcomes in English Language Arts and how a single assignment could be
used to assess more than one outcome. Kathleen's daily lessons were diverse and effectively
sequenced allowing students to build upon their knowledge and skills. Her questioning
techniques demonstrated appropriate wait time, the engagement of a variety of students, and
fostered deeper thinking and connections. Her assignments were consistently clear to
understand and were assessed in a timely manner. Her feedback was often provided through
one-on-one conversations, rubrics, and anecdotal comments that outlined areas of strength and
for learning. Kathleen was approachable when students had questions about their marks, and
she would take the time to listen to their concerns and to further explain their marks.

Kathleen was a member of the Junior High Humanities PLC and arrived at school early to
attend our weekly meetings. These meetings fostered a deeper understanding of the use of
Historical Thinking Skills, the use of varied reading assessments and the creation of shared
writing rubrics. Additionally, she would also arrive early, or stay late to be part of Learning
Support Meetings or parent meetings which fostered a deeper understanding of her students
with diverse learning needs. Kathleen also took part in a division-wide professional development
day and attended a session on implementing Newsea, in addition to using visual/creative
thinking strategies. Additionally, she participated in a PD opportunity on an Educators
Identification of Mental Disorders in the Secondary School Setting. Kathleen also assisted me
with the drama production for Remembrance Day. Lastly, she was an active participant in our
staff exploration of effective teaching practices. Overall, Kathleen was a willing participant when
working collaboratively with fellow colleagues.

I was so very fortunate to have Kathleen as a member of the Humanities Team at Heritage
Heights School, and I hope to someday work with her again in the future.


Sherene Schmidtler
Grade 9 Humanities and Dramatic Arts Teacher
Heritage Heights School