Rachael Arens

Educational Career Portfolio

Rachael Arens

My objective is to provide a welcoming environment in which each student is given the opportunity, support, and skills to grow as a modern learner. I believe innovation, communication, and problem solving skills are crucial in developing content knowledge and strive to instill these core traits in my students. I will model the importance of life-long learning and self-reflection as I develop my career through professional development, professional relationships, and innovative ideas.

Experience

Mehlville School District


Choice School of Innovation (future), St. Louis, MO

Classroom Teacher: Chosen as a teacher to help design, plan, and open a new choice-based school of innovation. Currently, we are developing a strategic plan for building development, board approval, and school implementation to open next fall. In the 2017-18 school year, I will work collaboratively with my co-workers to teach students to be leaders of their education through Project Based Learning and individualized educational paths.



Point Elementary School, St. Louis, MO

2016-Present


Reading Interventionist (K-2): Provide reading support for classroom teachers to ensure individualized reading instruction based on the needs of all learners. Plan and instruct small group guided reading lessons in which anecdotal records, running records, and assessment data drive my instruction.

  • Innovations and Technology Team
  • OASIS Building Coordinator
  • KAGAN Cooperative Strategies Trained

Liberty Public Schools

Lewis & Clark Elementary School, Liberty, MO

2011-2016


Teacher (1st & 2nd grades): Provided individualized education to ensure that each student met personal, district, and state goals. Instructed reader’s workshop, writer’s workshop, spelling, inquiry-based science, Project Lead the Way Launch, mathematics, and social studies through cooperative learning and flexible based assistance. Lead district colleagues in implementation and curriculum alignment of Project Lead the Way Launch program. Piloted and assisted in the device decisions for 1:1 technology integration. Assist building staff in transition to 1:1 technology integration as an eLeads technology mentor.

  • Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Launch Lead Teacher
  • Pilot Teacher for 1:1 Tablet Integration
  • eLeads district technology mentor
  • English Language Arts Vertical Team
  • Math & Science Vertical Team
  • Behavior Systems Vertical Team
  • Innovations & Technology Vertical Team

St. Joseph School District

Humboldt Elementary, St. Joseph, MO

2008 – 2011



Teacher (1st, 3rd, & 4th grades): Provided classroom education that ensured each student met personal, district, and state goals. Instructed reader’s workshop, writer’s workshop, spelling, inquiry-based science, mathematics investigations, and social studies through cooperative learning and flexible based assistance.


  • Communication Arts CADRE
  • End of Year Writing Scoring Team
  • After School Tutor
  • Saturday MAP Testing Tutor
  • Ruby Wells Memorial Scholarship Recipient
  • Positive Behavior Systems Training and Implementation
  • Response To Intervention Study Team
  • Katie Wood Ray Writing Conference (NC)
  • 3-D Reading & Dibels Trained

Certifications

  • Missouri State Elementary Education, 1-5th Grades
  • Missouri State Early Childhood Education, Birth-3rd Grades
  • Missouri State Middle School Social Studies Education, 5-9th Grades

References

Artifacts

Standard #1 Content knowledge aligned with appropriate instruction.

The teacher understands the central concepts, structures, and tools of inquiry of the discipline(s) and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful and engaging for all students.
Providing students with instruction appropriately scaffolded to meet the needs of a variety of learners is crucial in meeting the needs of all learners. When long-range and lesson planning, it is important to dissect each standard to understand the steps required to meet each goal. I use a digital lesson plan format to organize scaffolded lessons that engage students and address the standards. By using this digital format, I am able to include website links, copies, photographs, qr codes, and more. This also allows me to make adjustments easily based on the understanding of my students. If we need to reteach, enrich, or make changes it is very easy to do.


In addition, by using Google for this format, my collaborative team is able to add ideas, notes, and thoughts. This allows for the most prescriptive teaching possible for all of our students.

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Standard #2 Student Learning, Growth and Development

The teacher understands how students learn, develop and differ in their approaches to learning. The teacher provides learning opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners and support the intellectual, social, and personal development of all students.

Standard #3 Curriculum Implementation

The teacher recognizes the importance of long-range planning and curriculum development. The teacher develops, implements, and evaluates curriculum based upon student, district and state standards data.
Participating in several long range unit of instruction development opportunities with our building instructional coach has helped to provide a framework for planning focused instruction. When planning any instruction, it is important to use backwards design to determine how the standards need to be dissected in order to appropriately deliver material. While this is a process that should occur for all instruction, one specific opportunity I have to show case this is my development in district pacing and alignment with the Project Lead the Way Launch implementation. By looking at our district standards, state GLE's, and NextGeneration standards, I was able to align the Project Lead the Way curriculum, as well as provide appropriate pacing, adjustments, and enrichments for our district teachers.

Standard #4 Critical Thinking

The teacher uses a variety of instructional strategies and resources to encourage students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.

Standard #5 Positive Classroom Environment

The teacher uses an understanding of individual/group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages active engagement in learning, positive social interaction, and self-motivation.

Standard #6 Effective Communication

The teacher models effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques with students, colleagues and families to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.

Standard #7 Student Assessment and Data Analysis

The teacher understands and uses formative and summative assessment strategies to assess the learner’s progress and uses both classroom and standardized assessment data to plan ongoing instruction. The teacher monitors the performance of each student, and devises instruction to enable students to grow and develop, making adequate academic progress.
At Lewis and Clark, I have the opportunity to be a part of a strong Data Team process. We meet frequently to look at common data, group students, and plan interventions and enrichments accordingly. Our data constantly guides our instruction, pacing, and future assessments.


I also feel it is important to involve students in this process. Students use the data from their portfolios to discuss their learning, set goals, and monitor progress throughout the learning process.

Standard #8 Professionalism

The teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually assesses the effects of choices and actions on others. The teacher actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally in order to improve learning for all students.
I have established a strong Professional Leaning Network through following other professionals on Twitter, Instagram, and Blogs. These are all wonderful ways to get ideas, post questions, collaborate, and share in the newest ideas and strategies. When using technology, I am able to create a strong digital footprint by maintaining professionalism while growing as an educator.

Standard #9 Professional Collaboration

The teacher has effective working relationships with students, parents, school colleagues, and community members.

  • Students: There are a variety of ways to establish collaborative relationships among students. In the classroom I use Kagen strategies to help students learn more about each other, work together appropriately, and develop strong relationships. Finding student strengths, interests, and personalities helps individualize their education and make it something they love each and everyday.
  • Parents: Maintaining positive connections with parents helps students' learning by working for a common goal. I make a strong point to open the classroom up to parents in as many ways as possible. I utilize parent volunteers whenever possible, have parent guest speakers share expertise, have digital volunteers, share pictures and updates daily, and teach students to share their learning with their parents. My goal is to never have a parent say, "I don't know what is happening at school", instead through student and my communication, parents feel as if they are there with us each day.
  • Colleagues: My colleagues are my strongest resource as a teacher. We have so much to share with each other, there is no reason to do this alone. My grade level team and I meet daily to discuss lesson plans, student data, flexible grouping, share ideas, and needs of the team. We highly utilize Google to efficiently plan our lessons, collaborate with student data and needs, and work with each other. This is an amazing tool to use when working for a common goal.
  • Community Members: As with parents, it is important to have an open door with the community. There are so many resources out there to utilize. I work with high school students, have guest readers, call upon experts for Project Based Learning, and share student work with others in the community.