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March

29, 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

It is a distinct pleasure to recommend Dolly Duke, a graduate student from Westminster College in education and a
student teacher at Park City High School, for her excellent teaching performance in the classroom this semester.

Dolly displays a deep passion and knowledge of content in language arts and literature. At the beginning of the
semester Dolly was presented with an academic challenge: teach tenth and eleventh grade English Core classes at a
very diverse small city high school in an affluent area. These classes consisted of students of varying degrees of academic
ability to non-English speakers, ESL students and even gifted students. Dolly took this challenge and ran with it! She
was brilliantly prepared in language arts pedagogy. Her units were incredibly thorough, well taught, and she used a
wide array of effective teaching strategies. In fact, through the use of technology and pop culture, students were
immediately engaged with topics that taught the content and connected to their real lives. Dolly was also constantly
adapting her daily lessons to fit her students needs, including recognizing many students' poor language skills.

Dolly was always extremely prepared and organized - a hallmark of an effective teacher. She was always prepared,
every class period, with clear objectives and a plan for implementation of these objectives through a variety of teaching
and classroom management methods. Dolly developed a natural teacher presence in the classroom. She also has a
great ability to problem-solve in a caring and creative manner. For example, when a failing student refused to do any
work, Dolly stayed after it. She pestered him, cajoled him, spoke privately to him and voila! By the end of 3rd term this
student was writing full-page essays - something he had never done before. Dolly has learned to read a class well;
meaning she quickly knows when an activity has run its course or more time is needed for instruction. She is deeply
reflective and her teaching practices showed her constant improvement.

Dolly has an amazing ability to create a positive, friendly, and safe atmosphere in the classroom. She created a great
rapport with her students by inquiring about individual students interests and activities. Because of her connection with
her students, she built a great community of learning. Dolly's students saw her as accessible and soon performed better
on all levels, including assessments. Dolly was always willing to meet individually with students who needed special
accommodations, make-up work, or an adult to talk to. She gained her students' trust by not coming across as a know-
it-all. She created a climate of learning together. This great example of a life-long learner had a positive impact on her
students. She always provided choices for a student who could not complete the work in class she was never negative
or punitive. She quickly realized many of these students had difficult circumstances at home and she bent over
backwards to scaffold and differentiate her lessons to support their needs.

Finally, I must add that Dolly is compassionate, motivated, original, and enthusiastic. Becoming a good teacher is so
important to her that she sought suggestions and critiques from veteran teachers including attending teacher
development meetings to improve her teaching. She continually showed the professional dedication necessary to
become a master teacher. I wholeheartedly commend Dolly Duke for her excellent teaching performance in the
classroom this semester.

Sincerely,

Diana H. Gardner

Diana H. Gardner
Student Teaching Supervisor, Adjunct Faculty