Debbie Parker
Danbury, CT

Bio: As middle school teacher for 18 years and now Literacy/Instructional Coach and High School English Chair, in New Fairfield Schools, New Fairfield, Connecticut, I work with English and content area teachers to understand and implement personalized learning along with high impact instructional strategies to create effective Tier 1 classrooms for improved comprehension and writing. I’m a member of our grant committee through the NESSC/Great Schools Partnership which emphasizes personalized learning, and I’m a strong believer in it. Mastery-based grading, reading and writing workshop help student success. I created a Tier 2 Literacy Workshop for struggling readers in grade 6-8. Students work individually and in small groups within the same grade level with the reading specialist or the literacy coach on reading skills; through coaching and follow-up with teachers, students are able to integrate these strategies into their classwork and assignments. There has been great success with the goal of students receiving targeted assistance in areas of weakness so they can become more confident and successful. As high school English Department Chair, I work with teachers to understand mastery-based learning, inquiry, depth of learning rather than breadth, and differentiation. I implemented and managed Reading Seminar to help struggling readers reading below grade level. I began coaching to these English teachers to understand the need for formative assessment and personalized learning. I was the New Fairfield Middle School Teacher of the Year in 2005 and nominated for Teacher of the Year in 2013. In 2014-2015 my school was named the Middle School of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Schools. I have presented about a variety of topics and most frequently regarding my strong beliefs and success with mastery-based grading.

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