Welcome to 8-2 ELA!

Welcome to English Language Arts (ELA)!
I'm looking forward to meeting all of my students and kicking off your 8th grade year, which I hope will be your best yet!
No matter the challenges we might face this school year, we will work through them together
My goals are: to help you grow as communicators and be ready for the next stephigh school. To do so, I am committed to creating an environment in which you feel safe, valued, and happy. I will ask for your opinions and input often, so that I can best support your learning and overall well-being.
Please know that my door will always be open for you! 

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved reading and writing, so I feel very lucky to be able to share that passion in the classroom, helping my students find their stories and voices.

Something else I’m wild about: travel. I love exploring new places and trying new things.


The most interesting food I've ever sampled? Rotten shark meat in Iceland. Yes, you read that right. And no, it did not taste like chicken!


Besides a thirst for adventure, I also enjoy photography and film, kickboxing, running, pickleball (credit to Ms. Davidson for getting me hooked!), music, art, a good binge-watch, hammock naps, the outdoors, terrible puns (apologies in advance), and quality time with family and friends.


I look forward to a successful, memorable, and fun school year. Let's do this, 8-2!


Here is some professional information about me:


Educational Background
B.A. in Communication, Rowan University
M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Scranton


    • National Board Certification, English Language Arts—Early Adolescence, 2008

    • English, 7-12

    • Elementary, K-8

    • Google Certified Teacher, 2016

  • Teaching Experience
    • 3 years at Charles W. Lewis Middle School, Blackwood, NJ

    • Memorial faculty member since 2005



    • Received one of six Gloucester Township Apple Awards for Excellence in Education (“Teacher of the Year”), 2003-04

    • Former reviewer for Voice of Youth Advocates professional journal
You'll need:
Amazon.com : Black Marble Composition Notebook, 100-Count, Wide Ruled, 9  3/4" x 7 1/2" (12 PACK) : Writing Pencils : Office Products   tape
-marble composition notebook (We will be using an old-school marble notebook. No spiral notebooks, please.)
-Scotch tape (to be replenished throughout the year as needed)
-writing utensils 
-independent reading book 
-index cards (you may wish to use these to make vocabulary flash cards)
-Post-it notes (to annotate your independent reading book)
-colored pencils (for some of our notebook entries that will involve drawing)
Students can find assignments by accessing our Daily Agenda slide deck (found in Google Classroom). 
No homework will be assigned on weekends or holidays.  Those times are reserved for students to relax, spend time with their families, and pursue other interests, so that they can come back to school refreshed and ready to learn.  However, at their own discretion, students may choose to work over weekends and holidays on long-term projects or assignments.
As per our district’s grading practices, grades will be reported under two categories:

Major Assessments = 50% (Includes tests, written pieces, projects, presentations)
Minor Assessments = 30% (May include quizzes, poetry recitations, oral assessments, other graded assignments)
Classwork = 20% (May include do-nows, exit tickets, notebook entries, individual grades for group work)

Independent Reading = 50% (May include evidence of reading such as weekly check-ins, preparation for conferences, timely turn-in of responses; student should be consistently prepared for class with a book, maintain lists and logs)
Daily Expectations = 50% (Expectations:  contribute to class activities; demonstrate effort and positive attitude; stay on task; follow directions; complete work including make-up work on time; submit electronic assignments correctly; bring all required materials to class; self-advocate)
If you are in a situation where you are unable to complete an assignment on time, please contact me as soon as possible before the due date. We can accept major and minor assessments up to one week late. There is no late penalty. (This does not apply to presentations.) 
When an assignment is given, clear expectations are modeled and discussed in class. Almost always, mentor texts or models are analyzed and studied before we ask students to perform on their own. Coaching rubrics and models will be found in Google Classroom.

If a student earns a 69% or lower on a major or minor assessment, they may ask to reassess. The student should email me or Dr. Conboy to request the reassessment. After requesting the reassessment, the student must complete the following steps:

1. Fill out the Assessment Reflection Form found in GC *after* you request a reassessment from your teacher.  If this step is not completed within two days of requesting the assessment, you will forfeit your chance to reassess.

2. Make corrections or edit the original test or writing piece in red font, if requested by one of the teachers to do so.  If you are not asked to do this, move to step #3.

3. Attend a reassessment extra help session during the week to study or to receive one-on-one advice about how to improve.
Note: if a student does not complete an assigned study guide or the requested study tools (e.g. flashcards, graphic organizers) before the original assessment, I may decline a student’s request for reassessment. 
Absence Due to Vacation or Sickness:
As per our school policy, we do not provide work for students prior to a vacation. When a student misses class because of sickness or vacation, they must check our Daily Agenda (found on Google Classroom) to see what lessons and assignments were missed while away. 
High School Recommendations:
I would be happy to help any student apply to a private high school or special program. If you request a recommendation, please allow at least 10 school/business days to complete the paperwork. The student seeking a recommendation should make the request for the recommendation in person.  If there is actual paperwork to be completed and mailed, please submit it to me with a stamped envelope with the address of the institution to which you wish me to send the recommendation.
Recommendation paperwork left in my mailbox or sent digitally without a request from the student will not be filled out. 
I will not be able to write an honest recommendation before the middle of the first trimester at the earliest, so please do not make requests before then. If needed prior to that, you may wish to contact your 7th grade ELA teacher.