New ELA Community Associate, Shaelynn Farnsworth, details her passion behind building a National PLC Community and makes an exciting announcement.
I am a firm believer that a child’s zip code should not determine the quality of education they receive, nor should it determine the access educators have to curriculum and professional learning. For years, quality education was limited to how much money a district had to invest in a curriculum that may or may not be high-quality. And a teacher’s professional learning experiences were limited to what their district was willing to spend money on or the quality of teachers in their building they could learn from.
Connecting Through Curriculum
Thankfully it is 2019 now and Open Education Resources (OER) are shaking up the curriculum space. Now, every child, everywhere, can receive a high-quality, equitable literacy education using evidence-based, high-yield instructional practices. Maybe even more amazing is that teachers are no longer limited to the professional learning offered by their district or to network with colleagues in their zip code.
Instead, National Professional Learning Communities are being built around high-quality OER curricula like EL Education K–5 Language Arts and Bookworms K–5 Reading and Writing. Teachers are collaborating in online communities, sharing ideas, strengthening their practice and making education better for all students regardless of zip code. This is why I am honored to join the team at Open Up Resources as the new ELA Community and Professional Learning Associate. I can’t wait to jump into helping grow these communities so all teachers can participate in a thriving professional learning network.
Professional Learning Communities Make a Difference
Lifelong learning starts with a strong foundation in literacy, impacting a student’s personal, professional, and civic lives; that is why for the past 20 years, I have dedicated my life to education and literacy. Opportunities are opened and potential is realized when one can discern information with a critical eye and communicate their message effectively. As a classroom teacher and regional support consultant, I navigated the perils and success of literacy learning, honed my craft through professional learning communities, continued my education, and consulted research. Now, I begin a new chapter in the education field, continuing to advocate for high-quality literacy learning while supporting teachers and district leadership implementing the ELA curricula from Open Up Resources across digital platforms and face-to-face.
Technology not only changed my teaching, but opened the world for my students. In 2008, I became a 1:1 laptop teacher, meaning all of our students were given laptops to use during the school year. Because of this, I am a connected educator, blogger, and Tweet regularly. The connections I have made over the years have positively shaped me into the educator I am today. The sharing of resources, relationships made with educators across the globe, and the access to information are benefits I wish all teachers could capitalize upon. Along with these benefits, technology has also connected me with a growing awareness and use of OERs, which provide an economical way for teachers to update content, differentiate in the classroom, and use, reuse, and redistribute material for all students.
Growing Our Professional Learning Communities
One of my first projects is to bring on EL Education K–5 Language Arts Gurus to help serve our community even better. We have big plans in the works for virtual PLC meetings, Twitter chats, online book studies, and even more resource sharing— and for that I need help! If you are an EL Education K–5 Language Arts enthusiast that wants to make a larger impact from within your classroom on a national level, I hope you will check out this amazing opportunity.
I invite everyone to join me in the charge of building awareness and creating a thriving community of literacy advocates who are using the Open Up Resources ELA curricula in their classrooms; EL Education K–5 Language Arts & Bookworms K–5 Reading and Writing. Connect with me on Twitter and use the #OpenUpELA hashtag, join the Open Up Resources Facebook Community, or drop me a note at [email protected].
A location should not dictate the education one receives, nor should it be a factor into the access of quality curriculum and professional learning by teachers; I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work! Zip codes shouldn’t matter but high-quality curricula and professional learning definitely do. Let’s build it together.