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Life with Amy:

This is me and Lane, Joe, Matt, and Claire four of my fellow 2010 New Mexicorps members that I love dearly. This picture was taken at our Holiday Gala after I had just finished my first semester as a Math SpEducator at Sanders Middle School. Before joining the corps, I spent the first twenty-two years of my life here in Las Cruces! Im a very proud Bulldawg and a not quite-as proud Aggie. (If you dont know why, read up on our football team. Great grocery store conversation starter). I received my bachelors from NMSU in Elementary Education after interning with Project MOVEMOS where I student taught first and third grade for a year, then student taught in an eighth grade math classroom. I love scrapbooking, Crayola markers, long morning runs, hot yoga, UFC, cooking with my family, reading about the brain, and most of all, Sodie and Oscar. They give endless love and licks. This is Davey taking a selfie. You do it too, dont lie. Davey is someone I think of every single morning when I get ready for my day. She is also someone I think of when I make most of my decisions in my work, so you should know about her. Thinking about her can put a smile on my face as quickly as it can make me tear up. I love this girl. Davey came into my class as a sixth grader just over two years ago. She was thirteen years old, and several inches taller than any other boy or girl in the class. The first time I saw Davey, the ELA teacher on my team was yelling at her to get to the office because she had just been seen kicking the heels of several boys in front of her. She got in a fight on her way to the office, so she was suspended for the first four days of the school year. She couldnt catch a break students picked on her, she read at a fourth grade level and didnt even know all of her multiplication so most teachers didnt support her in the classroom, and she was known as a trouble -maker by school staff so she was targeted for locker checks and blamed for starting scuffles when security wasnt sure who to blame. Davey and I had a very rocky first few weeks together. From refusing to enter the classroom, refusing to sit with a group, wadding up her paper and throwing it at me, to yelling profanities to me or other students during instruction, we went through it all. I was challenged by the situation it impacted the learning of every kid in my class and it stressed me out to no end. But the more I learned about Davey, the more determined I became to gain her trust and make sixth grade a turning point for her. By midSeptember, almost every other staff member in my school had written her off. Our team had special permission to send her to a Thinking Room at any time, even if we just didnt feel like dealing with her that day. I continued to love her and work with her, trying everything and anything I could think of. I got close with her older sister and grandma, and convinced them to allow her to attend tutoring once Davey was on board with that. Finding a way to give her a ray of hope, a bite of success so she would have the drive to continue, was hard work every day. Lets fast forward eight months. In May of the same school year, you could find D avey in my classroom during lunch and after school every day, studying and even tutoring others in preparation to dominate the CST (part of our Big Goal). She scored a 77% on it and Ive seen never a person glow the way she did when I told her the news. Ive never been so proud, never had so much hope for whats possible. The thing is, life doesnt end at the end of a grade level. Davey went on to seventh grade and had a pretty rough year, and she didnt stay on the path she left sixth grade on. I dont know whats going to happen to her or where shell end up. Shes incredibly talented, brilliant, has a beautiful heart, and she needs a special kind of love and care and support. To me, theres no reason why we cant meet the needs of Davey and so many other kids like her who are getting the short end of the stick and know it, but dont have the words to put to it. This, to me, is why Culturally Responsive Teaching is so important to give kids like Davey the affirmation they need while also providing them with the critical consciousness and agency they need to be empowered leaders rather than victims of a f*@%ed up system who internalize that its their own fault. My lesson from Davey is that its on us to both affirm their identity and challenge them to achieve undeniable academic achievement so that they feel proud, confident, capable, and empowered; and the stakes are incredibly high if we dont.

WHAT are our roles in Teach For America? Amys Role An MTLD wears a few different hats in a small region like New Mexico. First, as your coach, I have the responsibility of coaching you to unleash students leadership. This is how we meet our vision, its what brought me to this work, and its what motivates me most as an MTLD. This means focusing on a combination of technical teaching skills and leadership skills and mindsets. In particular, Ill work with you on things like rigor, student voice in the classroom, your vision, relationships, and culturally responsive pedagogy, including cultural competence and critical consciousness. I will design and implement group learning experiences. I will also spend time getting to know people in all of our communities so that TFA can best meet the aspirations of our communities; this includes principals at your schools. Finally, Ill be your first point of contact at our region for questions or concerns, and Ill help make sure were all doing things we need to like Americorps paperwork, etc. Amys Priorities First, I work to ensure were meeting the needs of kids and families in southern New Mexico; and setting kids up to be empowered leaders of their communities. In order to meet the first priority, Im here to help you set a great vision and challenge and support you to stay true to it even when its hard. I also work to ensure we are collectively meeting our regional vision and meeting national expectations when relevant. Teacher/Corps Member Role As a teacher in a community and as a member of Teach For America New Mexico, your role is to ensure your students achieve meaningful academic growth and experience an identity-affirming education that sets them up to be empowered leaders. This will require that you understand the pathways to opportunity in your community and the stakes for your students and families if they dont achieve your goals. It will require understanding the obstacles our students face, but also the cultural strength and funds of knowledge you can build on. Finally, your role is to be a respectful representative of TFA in your community.

Teacher/Corps Member Priorities Your first role is to set a vision and make pedagogical decisions in the best interest of kids and communities, now and in the future.

1) Kids

2) You

Your second role is to own your own development and take advantage of your opportunities to improveTFA programming, university classes, MTLD, colleagues, etc. Your final role as a corps member is to be a respectful representative of our organization in your communities and meet expectations of TFAprogramming attendance, licensure, university, Americorps, etc.

3) TFA

HOW will we work together? MTLD CM Relationship We will partner together through a variety of means in order to help your students achieve their goals. This will include observations and Coaching Conversations (CoCos), whole-community learning experiences, PLCs, development at All Corps, and can include shared student home visits, community and school events, coplanning, co-teaching, classroom modeling, etc. Why observations and CoCos? My goal is to help make sure you and your students are meeting your goals. Seeing you in action is a key piece of evidence that will help me develop an opinion about how things are going. Ill interview kids to get a sense of classroom culture, Ill see you teach to get a sense of your technical skill, and Ill see how rigorous daily work is and who in the room is doing the heavy cognitive lifting. CoCos will be a chance for me to get your opinion, for us to norm on what were seeing, and for us to decide together what the most meaningful next steps will be. Why do I ask for data? Data is the clearest indicator of student achievement. All data is imperfect, but that doesnt mean its bad. Its also not the only thing I care aboutthere are things data doesnt capture. But, the data doesnt lie. And, for me, data is the most efficient window I have into your classs performance while working with 25 teachers. How often will we work together? The frequency of our work together will vary depending on your and your kids needs and the outcomes in your classroom. Unlike your CMA at institute, I will not be in yo ur room every day or reading all of your lesson plans. Our work will focus on the monthly to year-long level. You can expect to see me in your room at least once per quarter, if not more, and might expect other forms of group or individual interaction over that time.

Amys 3 Promises 1) Honesty: I will always be honest about my impressions of your classroom and your work. 2) Keeping priorities and generosity of spirit: I will always put your kids first, and I will assume that you are trying your hardest and want the best for your kids. 3) Valuing individuals and diversity: I will do everything I can to know you as a person so that I can best coach you as a teacher and as a leader for the long-term.

3 Commitments I ask of you 1) Honesty: I will always be honest, both with myself in reflection and with Amy in my communication.. 2) Keeping priorities and generosity of spirit: I will put my kids first, even when its hard, and I will assume Amy and TFA have my kids best interest in mind. 3) Valuing individuals and diversity: I will bring my unique thoughts, opinions, and experiences to the table. (Your opinions matter for deepening our coaching relationship!)

Operating Norms 1) Communication a. 24-hour response: Even if it means saying I dont have an answer yet, I need to do x and will be ready by y, I want us all to try to respond to emails within 24 hours (business days for example, if I email you at noon on Friday, I should hear something back by noon on Monday). You should hold me accountable to this, too! (Full disclosure: there were times I wasnt good at this last year. Truly, dont be afraid to call me out on it). b. My hours: This probably wont have too big of an impact on most of you, but you should be in the loop - Im not available after 7:30pm for meetings or calls, and will only be available on weekends when it is on my schedule (that info will be posted on the website). c. Weekly website check: For communications sake, please check our website carefully each week and respond to action items by deadlines. Bookmark the website now! d. Taking responsibility for scheduling: Given the inherent challenges of observing and meeting with 25 teachers in geographically wide communities, its important that we all take responsibility for scheduling our interactions. Lets be respectful of each others time: Please respond in a timely way when scheduling interactions with me, own remembering the time we will meet, and communicate ASAP when you know of a conflict. 2) Sharing Resources and Data: In order for me to be the best coach possible and have a full picture of your work in your classroom, its helpful for me to see your vision, plans, assessments and data. a. Sharing pre-observation: Ill ask that any time I come in to observe you share with me your current unit plan, your current unit assessment, your daily plan, your updated data, and your current perception of your classrooms biggest needs. b. Sharing quarterly: Also, regardless of when Ive come to observe, Ill ask you to share your updated data quarterly, which helps me make my action plan for the coming six weeks.