Fuller School of Excellence Nominees & Administration
Staff Bios (click to open)
Imagine entering a classroom which immediately teleports you to paradise. There are palm trees, sand underfoot, and the ocean within reach. Ms. Parks's classroom looks like a dream destination, helping one realize that in this classroom, you dream big! The palm trees represent the foundation to everything we know, connecting us to our prior knowledge and understanding of math. The sand represents the modeling, scaffolding, and differentiation of every math lesson necessary to assist in every student's mastery. Each student needs the lesson to be tailored to his or her unique needs.
In Ms. Parks's fifth grade classroom, students are expected to think outside of the box and engage with the metaphorical environment around them. With each lesson, students are testing out the water, attempting to grasp the standard, reaching towards the objective, and laying it all on the line with the exit ticket. Sometimes the waves rush in, and the lesson doesn't seem to be in reach, and the exit ticket data does not meet the goal. Students then hurry back to the sand, knowing they will be supported and uplifted to ensure they are ready to ride the next wave. The ocean represents the fluidity of knowledge, for its power, necessity, and continuity flows with each lesson. Ms. Parks assiduously plans with the previous and future grades in mind, helping her students make the connections across the grade level continuum, knowing that eventually they will be ready to swim.
Ms. Parks's classroom embodies the power of belief. Through intentional planning, explicit feedback, and high expectations, her students continue to persevere. Her classroom pushes students to take ownership and pride over the work they present. With every classroom lesson and school-wide professional development, Ms. Parks believes in the potential of her school community to be an oasis of academic excellence!
Mrs. McClain's class success is derived from her relationships with her students, stemming from a deep desire to know each and every student as an individual first. Focusing on personal confidence, self-control, and individual responsibility, Mrs. McClain’s 6th grade ELA class offers students an opportunity to infuse real-life meaningfully with the engageAUSL curriculum. Through strategic lesson planning, Mrs. McClain compels students to take control of their own learning and reach new levels of independence. Using differentiated learning techniques, students routinely analyzing a variety of complex text to discover for themselves authors' arguments, central themes and multiplicity of perspectives.
As a member of the ILT and new to teaching, Mrs. McClain participates in a deep study of standards to support school-wide implementation of engageAUSL. Her enthusiasm, vulnerability, and willingness to learn have been models to the Fuller school community at large!
In Ms. Anderson’s 2nd grade classroom, students are encouraged to be lifelong learners. Every interaction remains positive and learning oriented. It is obvious that students are working hard, with high and clear expectations, not only due to their close relationship with Ms. Anderson, but also because they have learned to believe in themselves and their own education. Ms. Anderson has pushed her students to rise beyond what they thought capable. Students are excited to be in her classroom and continue to work hard everyday. When inside the classroom, students are engaged in academic challenges and participate in thoughtful discussions with one another. Quick hand signals cue students to call on each other to add on to a response or politely disagree, making every second count.
In addition to teaching engageAUSL with fidelity, Ms. Anderson uses many other creative methods to encourage student learning. One example of this is the Pen Pal project in which her second grade class partnered with a school in Los Angeles to exchange letters. This project encourages not only writing growth, but also builds their knowledge of different cultures across the United States. By being reflective, creative, and open-minded, Ms. Anderson has created a positive and successful learning environment for her students. Ms. Anderson works tirelessly for her school community, participating on ILT, PLT, a primary math cohort, and taking part in multiple CKLA professional development activities. She coaches the girls volleyball team, and she has piloted programs between her club team and Fuller to push the players to reach their full potential. Her dedication to Fuller and her students is outstanding.
You can watch Ms. Anderson in action on our video page.
As a member of the first AUSL resident cohort of 2003, Ms. Stokes could hardly have imagined the twists and turns that would eventually land her where she is now, as the third grade math teacher at Fuller School of Excellence. Being able to devote most of her day to sharing her passion for math has been a dream come true for Ms. Stokes.
Her love for her subject area, as well as her students, is infectious. When you walk into Ms. Stokes’s room, you can feel the students’ enthusiasm for mathematical thinking and their care and compassion for each other. Ms. Stokes has worked to create an environment where students feel comfortable sharing their thinking and working through mistakes to achieve that day’s learning objective. Daily review of the previous day’s exit ticket from the engageAUSL curriculum creates a perfect opportunity to examine student thinking and to correct mistakes and misconceptions that multiple students hold. Rather than showcasing the “right” answer, Ms. Stokes frequently chooses an exit ticket that represents a common mistake, and she allows the author of that exit ticket to think through and correct his or her misconception. In fact, making mistakes has become such a valuable part of the learning in Ms. Stokes’s class that students regularly volunteer the mistakes they made along the way to successfully solving a problem.
Students feel safe in volunteering their own mistakes in Ms. Stokes’s room because they know that even the teacher makes mistakes. Students feel comfortable challenging each other’s thinking, as well as the thinking of the teacher, because they know that the goal each day is for everyone to leave just a little bit smarter.
You can watch Ms. Stokes in action on our video page.
Marilyn McCottrell, Principal
In her first year as principal of Fuller, Mrs. McCottrell has sought to empower her leadership team and teachers to create and maintain systems and routines that allow teachers to maximize instruction and learning. One of these systems, the coaching cycle, allows teachers weekly, individualized access with an instructional leader, moving through the planning, observation, student work analysis, and feedback stages more routinely. This along with other impromptu observations, informal check-ins, and learning walks help teachers build more professionally collaborative relationships, improve the quality of implementation of engageAUSL, and increase academic achievement as measured on daily exit tickets.
“Take the work of school seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.” This, Principal McCottrell believes, is most important in perfecting the craft of teaching. Considering herself a partner with staff in the work of education, Principal McCottrell not only relentlessly champions the school’s vision, but she models the vulnerability she hopes teachers have as they approach instruction, learning with and from those she leads. Infusing a healthy dose of humor in everyday interactions, Principal McCottrell values the power of owning mistakes, working diligently to overcome them, and sharing successes and setbacks publically (and with laughter) to compel collective growth.