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School District of the City of Pontiac

Herrington Elementary School


541 Bay Street
Pontiac, MI 48342
(248) 451-7790
(248) 451-7805 - fax
Kelley Williams, Superintendent of Schools
Jaronique Benjamin, Principal

Michigan State University


Special Education Internship
Final Winter/Spring Report
April 07, 2015
Intern: Jenna Stoutenburg
Mentor Teacher: Christina Mendoza
Herington Elementary
Pontiac, Michigan
Jenna spent the final semester of her student teaching internship at
Herrington Elementary in Pontiac, Michigan. Herrington Elementary has a
student population of approximately 480 students in grades Kindergarten
through 6th. The student population at Herrington derives from a low socioeconomic base and is culturally diverse in its composition. The teaching staff
consists of 16 general education teachers, 1 special education resource teacher,
1 teacher for the Emotional Impairment Program, 2 teachers for the Autism
Spectrum Disorder program, and 1 teacher for the bi-lingual program. The
support staff consists of: 1part-time special education social worker, 1 parttime speech therapist, 1 part-time occupational therapist and 1 part-time
physical therapist. Herrington is also fortunate to include on staff 2 full time
behavior support staff members and 1 reading consultant from the Oakland
Schools Intermediate District.
The Elementary Resource Program classroom in which Jenna completed her
internship consisted of 27 students. The composition of this classroom was as
follows: 9 girls and 18 boys, 7 of which were Hispanic, 1 Caucasian, and the
remaining 19 students, African-American. In regards to disability and grade
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level the distribution was as follows: Otherwise Health Impairment 7 students,


Speech & Language Impairment 1 student, Early Childhood Developmental
Delay 2 students, Cognitive Impairment 1 student, Emotional Impairment 1
student, Autism Spectrum Disorder 1 student and Specific Learning Disability
14 students. Three students came from the kindergarten classroom, 1 from
first grade, 3 from second grade, 2 from third grade, 9 from fourth grade, 4
from 5th grade, and 5 from the sixth grade.
Jenna arrived daily with promptness to Herrington to prepare for the
instructional day and to ensure all was in place in order to meet the needs of
the students placed in her responsibility. She consistently maintained a
professional demeanor and appearance while working in the school, and
participated in all aspects expected of a teacher.
Knowing Subject Matter and How to Teach Them
Jenna demonstrated excellent planning and preparation for all subject matter
she was responsible for teaching. She presented lessons that were appropriate
for the ability level of the students. She was very aware of the varying degrees
of readiness often found in special education classrooms and constructed
lessons that allowed for these differences. Jenna had a firm grasp of cognitive
organization and demonstrated skill in the sequence of learning tasks. This
was very evident when she introduced new concepts to students, such as
character and setting to the kindergarteners and first graders or place value to
the 3rd and 4th graders. She was able to break down student tasks into
appropriate segments for the time available and the ability level of the
students. Jenna was thorough in her lesson planning. In addition to
anticipating difficulties and determining assessment measures in her planning,
Jenna ensured that accommodations and differentiation were presented and
implemented in her delivery system. She made adjustments as needed and
retaught content in those instances when student learning was not proficient.
Jenna was also cognizant of the length or pace of her lessons. Since grade-level
and subject matter rotated every hour within this resource classroom, it was
important for her to safeguard that lessons could be implemented within those
time frames.
Jenna demonstrated initiative with content she was not familiar with by asking
probing questions of nearby professionals such as her university professors,
field instructor, mentor teacher, and grade-level teachers. She researched
content and teaching strategies in these situations in order to improve her
knowledge base and better serve her students. Jenna was incredibly skilled
with incorporating technology into her lessons. She created interactive
flipcharts for the whiteboard not only for presentation purposes but for student
use as well.

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It should be noted that Jenna did not have a curriculum readily in place from
which to initiate her internship teaching tasks. She had to rely on previous
lessons taught and data supplied by her mentor teacher to guide her initial
instruction. Furthermore, Jenna learned to thoroughly read individual student
IEPs to acquaint herself with goals and objectives, to investigate district
benchmarks and assessments from such sites as Atlas Rubicon, and to consult
grade-level teachers in order to shape her curriculum and guide her teaching
endeavors within the resource program. She effectively used material and
resources at her disposal and created what she lacked in order to teach her
students and help them reach their goals.
Working with Students
In regards to working with students, Jenna began building a positive rapport
upon her initial meeting with them. She quickly acquainted herself by learning
their names and their individual interests, likes and dislikes. She maintained a
demeanor that allowed for students to feel safe and comfortable with her,
resulting in a positive response from them.
Jenna established and kept an open line of communication with each ethnic
population represented within this classroom and beyond. She had a genuine
concern for students and showed respect for individual student opinions. She
welcomed opposing views from her own and exhibited no bias against students.
In regards to learning situations, Jenna was able to set achievable expectations
and differentiate instruction in order to foster a sense of success within
individual learners. She explained daily objectives to students and was easy to
understand. She was readily available to students in answering any questions
learners may have had. The positive rapport Jenna effectively established
enabled students to feel free with risk-taking and asking questions knowing
she would respond without judgement. Yet students were very aware that
Jenna would guide them to corrective measures if necessary and would not
tolerate actions or behaviors that were hurtful or disruptive.
Jenna was very effective in displaying cordiality, kindness, courtesy, and
fairness. She was a sympathetic and understanding listener when necessary
and treated all students in a friendly, equal manner. Jenna was able to help
students to recognize the effects of their actions and guide them toward more
appropriate, morally correct behaviors. Her own high moral character was an
excellent model for students.
Creating and Managing a Classroom Learning Community
Jenna had the unfortunate task of coming into a classroom environment where
expectations and managerial systems were already established. Despite this,
she was instructed by the mentor teacher to make whatever necessary changes
she desired in order to make the classroom her own. Jenna observed the

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expectations and procedures set for this classroom and was able to incorporate
them into her own teaching. Jenna was successful in structuring the learning
environment to accommodate individual student differences. By creating such
an environment, students were able to actively participate in the learning
process. Space was provided for students to work and move on the floor or to
sit with partners or groups at desks. An area was also provided for teacher-led
small group activities at a kidney-shaped table. An area established for timeout situations was also present.
Jenna established predictability and stability by greeting students each day as
they entered the classroom and conveying to them the objectives and
expectations for their respective sessions. Responding to the attention span of
very young learners she established the practice of earned free time as a
transition from reading into math. The lessons she delivered kept students
actively engaged, resulting in an atmosphere of continuity. Jenna established
appropriate control over the classroom and was able to maintain such control
while utilizing a variety of approaches in meeting daily objectives.
She was successful in her use of the DOJO web-based classroom management
system with younger students; and the use of a clothespin clip chart system for
older students. The latter system was incorporated into the established system
of earning privilege passes which were saved by students to use at the
classroom treasure chest.
Jenna constructed an environment where expectations and procedures were
known, where students were comfortable enough to participate, and where
order prevailed to ensure that learning could and did take place. She
maintained a friendly give-and-take atmosphere that did not permit ridicule by
students or teacher and where tolerance and acceptance was evident.
Working and Learning in a School and Profession
Jenna consistently arrived to work early to prepare for students and stayed
daily 1 hours to 2 hours after school to discuss the days events and
upcoming lessons. Her dedication and consistency did not go unnoticed by
fellow teachers. Jenna was very active in all aspects of the school community.
She was willing and eager to participate and learn. She attended and
participated in the following: staff meetings once a month, after school, inschool professional development sessions, monthly Instructional Support Team
meetings, monthly Special Education Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings,
professional learning community meetings, and monthly School Improvement
Committee meetings. Furthermore, she attended a Special Education Dept.
meeting for Medicaid procedures and the upcoming state assessment M-Step,
and participated in an annual IEP review. Jenna also worked with the
kindergarten teacher in the mornings and 5th grade teacher in the afternoons
during the school districts intercession which her mentor teacher did not

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participate in. It should also be noted that during this time, Jenna took the
initiative to attend the boys basketball game at another elementary building
after school. She attended this event on her own time without accompanying
another teacher. This action resonated with staff members as it was evident of
Jennas commitment and dedication to the population she served. This type of
behavior is an asset when teaching in any community but especially in the
urban setting.
While serving in the role of teacher, Jenna consistently maintained a
professional demeanor that some veteran teachers lack. She demonstrated an
understanding and tolerance in differing point of views and was supportive of
the democratic decision-making process in determining school practices. She
worked and interacted effectively with fellow staff members, respecting all
personnel in the building. When in doubt, Jenna did not hesitate to seek
clarification from fellow teachers and sought out their ideas and input. She
respected the knowledge and experience of those around her and was open to
suggestions and constructive criticism. She was cooperative and harmonious
with those around her, and was willing to share her techniques when called
upon.
Conclusion
During her time at Herrington Elementary, Jenna took on the full load of a
special education resource teacher in an urban setting. She was 100%
responsible for lesson planning and teaching all sections or hours, except one.
She was faced with what most teachers in an urban setting are faced with the
neediest of learners with little to no resources. She was presented with a
situation where the caseload was far above state mandates, and where 7
different disability categories were present. She was fully immersed in a
teaching situation typical of most poor urban settings. This was not an easy
task to undertake, even for a seasoned teacher. Yet Jenna displayed fortitude
and stamina, and embraced it with an optimistic attitude that was to her
benefit. Her commitment and dedication could not be denied. She was eager to
learn, dependable, effective, and professional throughout the entire internship.
It has been an absolute pleasure having her as an intern. Working with her
during this time not only enlightened and served as a learning experience for
this mentor teacher, but also instilled a sense of hope. For, if upcoming urban
educators could exemplify all that Jenna did, our children would have the
opportunity to be taught by the best. Her presence will be greatly missed by
all, and we can only hope she would consider joining our school district, as she
would definitely be an asset.

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Mentor Teachers Signature

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Interns Signature

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Date

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