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4/2/13

Sarah Zielinski was my student teacher at Stilwell Junior High from 1/28/13 until 3/14/13 (seven weeks). Stilwell is one of two junior highs in the West Des Moines Community School District. This is a suburban district located to the west of the city of Des Moines, IA. Each of Sarahs classes had an average of 21students, for a total of 119 for whom she was responsible. She attended and participated in all team meetings, District meetings, and parent conferences during her time at our school. Sarah did an excellent job while assisting in my classroom and has many strengths from which to draw upon in her future teaching career. Teaching two units over the course of the seven weeks, she was responsible for all aspects of the areas of study: lesson planning, teaching, and assessments. Intelligent and witty, Sarah was able to quickly adapt to ongoing changes in the classroom, even creating modified lessons as the day progressed and differentiated instruction was required. Sarah had an enthusiastic, real camaraderie with the students, as was evidenced by her daily interactions and her quick ability to memorize each students name within the first week of her time at Stilwell. Because of this relationship, the ever-important classroom discipline was always under control. The students enthusiastically thanked Miss Zielinski for her quality teaching; she did impact their learning, and they were very appreciative. Sarah also sent a number of email correspondences to our parents, giving her the necessary experience in communication that is so necessary in todays teaching experience. If asked whether Sarah is ready to begin her teaching career in your school district, I would definitely respond with a resounding Yes! I believe that Sarah has much to bring to a classroom of English/Language Arts students. Her ability to connect with kids and her capable handling of the subject matter would make her a wonderful addition to your school. Please feel free to contact me with further questions; I would be more than happy to discuss Sarahs employment future with you at any time.

Sincerely, Becky Anderson 7th Grade English/Language Arts Stilwell Junior High School Andersonb@wdmcs.org 515.633.6055

TO: FROM: SUBJECT: DATE:

WHOM IT MAY CONCERN Ronald Sallade, Student Teacher Supervisor, School of Education, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa Employment Recommendation for Sarah Zielinski, Student Teacher, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, Spring Semester 2013 April 5, 2013

This is a letter of recommendation enthusiastically supporting employment for Sarah Zielinski, a student teacher at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, who will be a fully certified teacher in May 2013. I have been supervisor of Sarahs student teaching during the Spring Semester, 2013. For her first student teaching placement, her student teaching assignment has been five sections of English Language Arts, Reading Strategies, and Composition at Stilwell Junior High School, a comprehensive junior high school serving the community of West Des Moines, Iowa. For her second student teaching placement, Sarah has been placed at Waukee High School, where she has taught two sections of College Prep, and one section of Sophomore English. Waukee is contiguous with West Des Moines on the west. In brief, Sarah is a very successful, intentional teacher: setting her lessons in context; providing direct instruction in a stimulating and effective manner; engaging students in an exciting, purposeful way; using a variety of instructional approaches; appropriately checking for students understanding; and re-teaching as needed. Sarah is a natural teacher. Perhaps these characteristics have been enhanced by her close association with her father, a lifelong educator. He is a high school principal in their home state of Illinois in his current assignment. Sarah has an excellent teacher presence. She creates an orderly, active, positive classroom environment and puts forth great effort to achieve her desired outcome. Her students are engaged, and her classroom is well managed. She conducts herself as a professional in every respect. She holds herself accountable for learning and accomplishes a great deal. She intentionally seeks opportunities to communicate with students on a very personal level. Ms. Zielinskis lesson plans are well prepared and interconnect appropriately with the course curriculum. In preparing lessons Sarah has a thorough knowledge of the text and relevant vocabulary as well as seeks and uses supplemental materials from resource books, the Internet, and the library. For her 7th Grade Language Arts classes, she planned and implemented unit plans concerning vocabulary and writing traits that involved both individual and group work. She also planned and implemented lesson plans with the Reading Strategies and Composition classes. In Twelfth Grade Language Arts, her second placement Sarah planned and implemented unit plans using the novel Brave New World to work on building reading, writing, satirical, and rhetorical skills. Sarah very ably employs a variety of instructional strategies. Students are quite responsive to Sarah. Students benefit from positive, spontaneous, interactive rapport with her. Sarah demonstrates a measured self-confidence. Students know that she is helping them and the students readily accept her instruction. Sarah and her students obviously benefit from mutual respect. Her students like her, are comfortable with her, have a high opinion of her, and willingly follow her instruction. Sarahs mentor teacher in her first placement, Rebecca Anderson, has assessed her at the Advanced Placement level on the Final Evaluation for seven of the ten standards established by Drake University. She was evaluated as Proficient in the other three areas. In addition there are dozens of positive comments and every category on page 4 of the instrument is marked "Excellent." I expect Sarah will have comparable ratings in her second placement when that time comes.

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Ms. Zielinskis interpersonal skills (active listening, clearly understood voice, effective eye contact) are especially effective and obviously an important part of her communication with students. I am quite impressed by Sarahs easy, interactional repartee with students, her ability to capture and synthesize students ideas during discussion, as well as her ability to concurrently record students ideas on the board. Typically, those abilities are evident later in a teachers career. Sarah is quite collaborative in her approach. She has been part of an instructional team, which includes six other professionals, and she has shared resources very effectively with those teachers. In short, Sarah is an exceptionally effective, successful teacher. Overall, I would rank Sarah Zielinski in the top twenty percent of beginning teachers. She has the decided commitment and will make a major difference. As a student teacher, Sarah is impressive. Sarah is talented academically, earning a 3.33 GPA during her college career at Drake University. She has successfully completed a duel degree earning a Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education with Reading Endorsement and a Bachelor's of Arts in English. Concurrent with her intelligence and teaching abilities, Ms. Zielinski is a mature and socially appropriate professional. I believe Sarah is an exceptionally good candidate for placement in that she is th th certified for all language arts (English, Speech/Theatre) 5 grade through 12 grade, as well as th th reading for 5 grade through 12 grade. She is also interested in getting involved with the school theatre program, any student leadership program, the school newspaper, or any speech or debate teams. I very enthusiastically recommend Sarah Zielinski for any teaching position for which she is qualified and certified. If representatives from school districts have questions or would like more information, they are invited to contact me personally. Ronald Sallade, Ph. D. th 3715 SW 28 Street Des Moines, IA 50321-2024 515.285.6219 Home 515.249.5627 Daytime Mobile!

RonaldSall@aol.com! ! !

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