I am writing to request a 1,000 dollar Excellence in Ed grant to purchase supplemental reading materials for Cold Stream Alternative. I have been so fortunate to continually receive grants through your program throughout the last 17 years working as an English teacher in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, and I have an extensive and amazing classroom library to prove this. Each year, I update our library with current titles, the latest YA novels, historical fiction, non-fiction and personal requests for the students we serve, including full timers and single subjects from NTHS,THS, and SHS. These numbers range from 80-100 student contacts per year. In addition, each year, several students ask to keep their favorite books or even loan them to friends and family, which, I feel, fosters their love of reading and learning even more. Because we, at Cold Stream, are literally “a one room school house”, without our own school library, this funding is crucial in maintaining and expanding our library that serves many graduates in this district.
As a direct result of the grants I have received, my students are able to read, through independent study, many more books than in a traditional setting of an English class. At a minimum they are reading 10 novels each year, but some students may even read over 20; my latest proud accomplishment is the popular resurgence of Lord of the Rings, which covers about 1500 pages. My philosophy has always been to teach reading and writing skills through the love of literature, which must allow for student choice in books, another benefit allowed to me through the grants from Ex in Ed. I have the resources to buy them; and the spread of new titles and new writers is limitless and continues to expand throughout this community I am able to foster. I also serve a clientele in grades 8-12 English, Creative Writing, AP English Literature. The reading levels of students vary from 4th - to beyond college level. In order to serve these needs which vary from year to year, almost month to month, due to the nature our program, it is crucial to have the funds to immediately make changes to the curriculum as well as entice readers with the freedom to choose their own reading materials which is a cornerstone in our educational philosophy at Cold Stream. The reason students and parents choose our program as either a full enrollment option, or through ski academy at NTHS, or through credit recovery at both high schools hinges on our ability to provide individualized learning plans. This would not be possible in our humanities classes without the help of Excellence in Ed.
We will be using traditional data to track reading progress, through the district benchmarks, Accuplacer, STAR and SAT scores, as well as non-traditional assessments of discussions, papers, projects/presentations in the classroom. This was evidenced in our 2016 WASC accreditation of 6 years and commended in our report.
Titles are chosen based on teacher research, student interests and needs. These books are then incorporated into the Social Studies and English curriculum to enhance core texts. (on- going basis)
Yes, I plan to share with Troy Melin, our Social Studies teacher and Kurt Zapata, our science department.
Yes, we use Measure A funds as well, but that has been significantly cut as of (about 4 years ago) due to Measure A funding of FTE's . We share that with Sierra High School.