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- Which absences are okay and which are not
- How to support learning at home
I am a licensed ESL teacher with five years experience with students from diverse backgrounds. I have taught academic English to students of all ages in Vietnam, technology use to suburban children and, most recently, academic English to new-to-country immigrants and refugees from East Africa for the last two and half years in an urban U.S. setting.
I believe all students can learn and thus am invested in each and every one of my students’ potential success. It is my conviction that the purpose of education is two-fold: foundational and functional. Educators should provide each student with the means to a strong and agile mind in the same way a trainer provides an athlete with a pathway to a powerful and agile body. But we also need to provide the student with situational fluency and applicable skills the way that a mentor guides a mentee to thrive in a number of contexts. At bottom, I love working with students of varied backgrounds and really enjoy watching students push themselves further than they thought they could go.
As an ESL practitioner, I believe firmly in assessment, planning, differentiation and reflection. I use iPads and spreadsheets to engage in weekly formative assessment and reflection. Further, I am experienced in administering the full suite of assessments from World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) as well as state standardized assessments. Using this data, I have helped facilitate differentiated instruction for students with a wide range of varying backgrounds, interests and abilities by implementing supports, such as sentence frames/stems, realia, and interactive graphics, and flexible grouping. I also believe strongly in using technology and have utilized the following software and services to help differentiate instruction: Reading A-Z, Readlive, Read Works, Imagine Learning, Newsela, and Moodle. Similarly, I employ the use of iPads, PowerPoint, Google Slides/Docs, Smartboards, and Promethean Boards to create dynamic differentiated teacher and student-generated content. Through these classroom practices, I have assisted East African students to raise WIDA scores by an average of one full point year over year. Moreover, I can show measurable gains in student writing through student work samples.
I believe in formative assessment and reflection. To see a sample of my formative assessment, click here.
I also developed and managed a school-wide online knowledge base for teachers to pool and share resources and gain access to often-used forms and materials and managed Banaadir Academy’s website and published all of its content for four years.
As an ESL teacher, I value diversity as not only important but necessary to foster a well-rounded and productive educational environment. In this regard, I have accomplished many things that have helped Banaadir Academy become a more culturally responsive school. In order to address low first-language literacy and limited background knowledge about the U.S. education system, I collaborated with students to produce a series of bilingual training videos for SLIFE and their parents, detailing school procedures and norms. An example video can be found at http://www.fossenbell.org/videos/. In addition, I facilitated the creation and implementation of our school’s interpreting team. Both of these initiatives led to a marked increase in parent-teacher communication. In a similar vein, I implemented and managed the Somali Word of the Week initiative to help Western staff learn more about Somali language and customs.
See samples of my culturally responsive teaching here.
I have a documented history of taking initiative and holding leadership positions at every organization for which I have worked. Most recently, I served as a Professional Learning Community (PLC) Lead for grades 5 and 6 and facilitated data-driven flexible grouping of students which has led to increased test scores and overall student success. Further, I created, implemented and managed the award-winning Reading Buddy volunteer program, which has provided students over three thousand hours of extra small group and one-on-one support. Lastly, I facilitated a school-wide transition to adopt the WIDA W-APT and MODEL for language assessment and placement.
Read more about the Reading Buddy Program
Reading Buddy Program wins award!