I wish to take a moment to share some wonderful curriculum resources that are currently used and will continue to be used into next year. These resources provide instructional consistency for same grade classrooms as well as vertical alignment over multiple years.
Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study
Currently, both 3rd grade classrooms have successfully implemented the Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study for teaching reading and writing. This research based program provides relevant and rigorous lessons. Furthermore, the Units of Study provide leveled reading materials to match individual student reading abilities. We are excited to announce that we will be expanding the implementation of this program to grades 2nd through 4th. We look forward to increasing our consistency in our reading program.
Currently the middle school language arts and social studies classes have advanced their analytical writing skills through the use of ThinkCERCA. ThinkCERCA provides a large library of prompts and writing assignments that require students to learn to make a claim, find evidence in the text, and provide reasoning for their argument. We plan to expand the use of this writing tool into 5th grade and to the science curriculum.
Currently students in the 2nd and 3rd grade classes have supplemented their math instruction with Freckle. The teachers used the free online version with limited features. At the request of these teachers, we have upgraded our subscription to the premium version. The premium version provides supplemental material in math, science, social studies and reading. Freckle curriculum supplement that provides differentiated activities for students in grades 1st through 5th. Also, teachers can monitor student usage and achievement through the feedback features. All students in 1st through 5th grades will have access to the resource for next year.
All of these programs have been requested or implemented by our Faith Hope teachers. Furthermore, we support our teachers by providing professional learning directly related to these programs which will be offered before the next school year begins in the August.
We are very excited to introduce our new fourth grade team. Both teachers bring a wide range of strengths to provide high quality instruction and support to our students.
Please join me in welcoming Bianca Hara to the Faith Hope Faculty. Bianca joins us after a very accomplished 17 year tenure at St. Joe's in Wilmette. Mrs. Hara implements a wide range of technologies in her classroom that support student learning and provides strong communication with parents. Furthermore, Mrs. Hara has made significant contributions to the curriculum development at St. Joe's.
Also, please welcome Samantha Calabrese to our 4th grade team. Ms. Calabrese is a graduate of Marquette University and recently completed her MA in elementary education at National Louis University. She completed her student teaching assignment at Joseph Sears School. Samantha demonstrated great enthusiasm and passion for teaching during our interview process. We look forward to her energy and knowledge of current education practices and strategies.
Both of these teachers are very highly recommended. We look forward to having them contribute to our Faith Hope team.
In addition, I have exciting developments to share with you regarding our Faith Hope "Fine Arts team" for next school year. We are committed to building a comprehensive Fine Arts Program that provides opportunities for our students to grow in heart, mind and soul.
I have invited Dr. Christian Stirling to oversee the Fine Arts (Music, Art, Theatre and Dance) and specifically to teach the 4th through 8th grade music curriculum with a focus of establishing a strong choir/singing program in the upper grade levels. Dr. Stirling comes with a wealth of experience in music education and musical performance, with advanced degrees in piano/organ performance, composition, and a doctorate in choral conducting from UIUC. Many of you know Dr. Stirling as the director of the wonderful music program at the church.
Ms. Arlynn Arzet who some of you may have met as she completed her student teacher practicum at Faith Hope recently, has accepted an offer to teach PK through 3rd grade music. Arlynn recently graduated from North Park University with a Bachelors of Music Education. Her background in music includes having studied jazz piano under great jazz pianist Willie Pickens and being part of The Ravinia Jazz Scholars program. She is a regular performer at several jazz venues in the Chicago area, such as Andie’s Jazz Club and The Jazz Showcase to name a few. Arlynn is also a composer and singer-songwriter and will be available on a limited basis for piano and voice lessons during the school day.
Ms. Terese Dubé will be formally joining the Faith Hope faculty to solidify the highly successful string (violin) program which she has established over the past 3 years. There are now 65 students learning violin in grades PK through 5th. Next year, in addition to violin we will be offering cello, with the vision to establish an orchestra program.
Ms. Kate Kinyon who some of you may have encountered in the Maker Workshop program during ballet course will be developing the musical theatre and dance offerings within the school and overseeing the 8th grade musical. Kate possesses a BFA in Musical Theatre and Dance from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point and over the course of 20 years established her own very successful Performing Arts Academy in Rogers Park.
Ms. Joanne Bennett, our FHC art teacher will continue her work with students this year. I’m sure many of you experienced the fine exhibition of students’ work that she coordinated and presented in the Parish Center just a few weeks ago. The breadth of artistic mediums and styles which she has introduced to the students has been quite remarkable. I am also grateful to her for the wonderful links she has established with Misericordia through the art collaborative.
We have so many programs offered by highly qualified teachers. We hope you encourage your children to enjoy the opportunities that these teachers and programs will provide.