Ellen McCormickEllen McCormick

I was born and raised in Seattle, and only left the area to attend Chaminade University of Honolulu (CUH) which included a semester exchange at one of CUH’s sister schools, the University of Dayton. I earned a degree in Religious Studies with a minor in Environmental Studies from CUH. I chose to pursue Religious Studies out of the desire to learn more about the faith I had been raised with and confirmed in as well as for the opportunity to study history (which I love) through one very specific lens. Now that I am back in my home state, I live in South Seattle and take every opportunity I can get to travel. I love trying new foods, getting lost in a theater production, discovering new bands or fantastic authors and finding that perfect antique item that I had no idea I couldn’t live without.

Interest and Experience in Education

During my senior year of high school I had the opportunity to take a community service elective, which allowed me to leave school during the day and volunteer at a local elementary school in a 1st grade classroom. Immediately I was struck with two things; I loved being in a classroom environment where I was able to interact with children as a mentor and there was no way I could ever see myself working with elementary age children in a paid position. This experience made me look at my initial plan of pursuing a degree in elementary education and change my goals. I decided to pursue a degree in Religious Studies and then teach secondary religion in a Catholic school. I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Catholic schools my entire life and I wanted to have the chance to engage young adults in their faith, guide them as they struggle with it and most importantly, encourage them to embrace it. While attending college, I was involved in running Campus Ministry retreats for other students and taught Sunday school. After graduating, I organized a self-motivated, non-university affiliated teacher internship at my alma mater and primarily shadowed a religion teacher there for a semester. This teacher allowed me to teach her classes and encouraged me to observe teachers in other disciplines. A great majority of the semester I helped as a substitute teacher and was the JV tennis coach. This experience confirmed my desire to be a high school religion teacher and when I was only a semester out of college, I was hired and am currently in my 5th year of teaching high school religion (sophomores and seniors) and have worn many hats in my role as an educator from community service coordinator to retreat leader to class advisor. I am pursuing the MAT with endorsements in secondary English and History to legitimize and strengthen what I am already doing. I love being a secondary educator and want to be as well-rounded of an educator as I can be for the benefit of my students and colleagues.

Purpose of This Portfolio

A complete bportfolio (blog portfolio), which is assembled across the program, shows knowledge and skills I am acquiring as an emerging teacher. Professional knowledge and skills are summarized in Principles of HOPE, which are program standards aligned with certification requirements authored by the State of Washington (WAC 181-78A-270).

H – Honor student diversity, development and their right to learn.

H1 – Honor student diversity and development.
Teacher candidates plan and/or adapt learner centered curricula that engage students in a variety of culturally responsive, developmentally, and age appropriate strategies.

H2 – Honor student access to content material.
Teacher candidates use multiple instructional strategies, including the principles of second language acquisition, to address student academic language ability levels and cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

H3 – Honor the classroom/school community as a milieu for learning.
Teacher candidates implement classroom/school centered instruction, including sheltered instruction that is connected to communities within the classroom and the school, and includes knowledge and skills for working with others.

H4 – Honor family/community involvement in the learning process.
Teacher candidates inform, involve, and collaborate with families/neighborhoods, and communities in each student’s educational process, including using information about student cultural identity, achievement and performance.

H5 – Honor student potential for roles in the greater society.
Teacher candidates prepare students to be responsible citizens for an environmentally sustainable, globally interconnected, and diverse society.

O – Offer an organized and challenging curriculum.

O1. – Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes.
Teacher candidates align instruction to the learning standards and outcomes so all students know the learning targets and their progress toward meeting them.

O2. – Offer appropriate challenge in the content area.
Teacher candidates plan and/or adapt curricula that are standards driven so students develop understanding and problem-solving expertise in the content area(s) using reading, written and oral communication, and technology.

P – Practice effective teaching: inquiry, planning, instruction & assessment.

P1 – Practice intentional inquiry and planning for instruction.
Teacher candidates plan and/or adapt standards-based curricula that are personalized to the diverse needs of each student.

P2 – Practice differentiated instruction.
Teacher candidates apply principles of differentiated instruction, including theories of language acquisition, stages of language, and academic language development, in the integration of subject matter across the content areas of reading, mathematical, scientific, and aesthetic reasoning.

P3 – Practice standards-based assessment.
Teacher candidates use standards-based assessment that is systematically analyzed using multiple formative, summative, and self-assessment strategies to monitor and improve instruction.

P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction.
Teacher candidates use technology that is effectively integrated to create technologically proficient learners.

E – Exemplify service to the teaching profession.

E1 – Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice.
Teacher candidates develop reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practices through regularly evaluating the effects of his/her teaching through feedback and reflection.

E2 – Exemplify collaboration within the school.
Teacher candidates participate collaboratively and professionally in school activities and using appropriate and respectful verbal and written communication.

E3 – Exemplify an understanding of professional responsibilities and policies.
Teacher candidates demonstrate knowledge of professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities and policies.

Elements of a Model Entry

There are different formats for writing portfolio entries. However, responding to writing prompts 1-6 increases the likelihood of writing a quality entry, that attends to current and desired performance on professional knowledge and skills, and impact on K-12 student learning.

1. Citation of the program standard (one standard from HOPE principles) along with an interpretation of what the standard means.

2. Presentation of evidence with description. The description includes context and related research or theory associated with the creation of the evidence.

3. Justification of how the evidence demonstrates competence, or emerging competence, on the program standard.

4. Summary of what was learned as a result of creating the evidence or having the experience.

5. Comment on the implications for student learning.

6. Propose specific changes or next steps to increase effectiveness in the area under examination.

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