The Role of the Reading Specialist: In My Own Words
By Nicole Zaph
The position of Reading Specialist can play a number of different roles in a variety of school settings. This position is found at all levels, from elementary through high school, private and public schools. Sometimes the Reading Specialist serves as a coach for classroom teachers and at other times as a one-on-one intervention teacher with the students. In my position at SESI, I wish to fill both of these roles as intervention teacher and coach.
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Regional Sports League
New Hope Academy is committed to providing services, programs, and activities that provide opportunities for students to grow both inside and outside of the classroom. As part of that commitment, our academy has been participating for several years now in a sports league comprised of other schools in SESI’s Maryland North Region. The league gives students a chance to interact with kids from other regional schools and to show school pride in their own.
Throughout the school year, we compete in three sports: (1) flag football in the fall; (2) basketball in winter; and (3) volleyball in spring. Each sport has its own play-off and crown champions for the season. In flag football, the play-offs are conducted in bowl format, similar to the NCAA. Naturally, we have our own form of March Madness to crown our basketball champions.
Participation on these sports teams allows our students not only to cultivate athletic skills, but also to gather experience and learn critical lessons in such areas as teamwork, collaboration, and good sportsmanship. Playing sports in our league is a highly sought after activity on campus, so only green-level and blue-level students who have demonstrated sound judgment and good decision-making skills in school can participate in practices and games.
Each year, all the schools get together for a Sports Banquet at which the students are celebrated for their athletic performance and sportsmanship. All participating students receive a participation award at the banquet.
New Hope Academy Poets Society
There is an exciting new club on the New Hope Academy campus this year! The New Hope Poets Society is made up of students and staff that believe in “healing and education through artistic expression.” The group—coordinated by staff members Mr. P., Mr. Juan, and Mr. Howard—gathers weekly to give members the opportunity to share the spoken, written, and recorded word. Every other week, local artists are invited to meet with the group to mentor and speak with the students about their chosen art form. The club discusses and practices poetry writing, song writing, public speaking, and project management. Later in the year, the members of the Poets Society will have the opportunity to record in a professional studio. Also, many of them will perform in front of their peers at our annual Fine Arts Festival. There is a high level of enthusiasm and participation among the student population because of the creative outlet this club provides.
Driven to Learn
This school year brings an exciting new opportunity to New Hope Academy’s high school students. The school has a full working garage that is now open and available for students to gain exposure to car mechanics. The auto shop has been a much-anticipated addition to the program and provides an incentive for many students who are interested in the automotive field. Students will be offered real-world auto-mechanic and detailing experience that will translate into valuable job skills in an uncertain economy.
Mr. Moody, garage supervisor and teacher assistant, believes that working in the New Hope Auto Garage will lead students to recognize and understand the responsibilities involved in being a competent employee. The program aims to help students master a variety of skills that can be applied in the working world.
Up to 10 students will be able to work weekly in the garage. They will learn to perform simple routine maintenance checks, as well as detailing techniques. Students have already worked on several staff cars—most recently, repairing dents and reattaching a bumper. In the coming weeks, they will be learning about oil changes, electrical components, and circuits.
Mr. Moody has high hopes for the future of this program. “We are currently trying to develop relationships with local companies and driving schools in order to help the students secure employment after graduation. My ultimate goal is to show these students that you can have fun and still maintain a productive and safe work environment.”