Milford teachers Tanya Humes of the Milford High School and Jesse Parsley of the Milford Central Academy have been chosen to join 34 Delaware teachers as part of the inaugural Delaware Dream Team. Selected by Delaware’s Department of Education, the pair will join the team in January for TeachFest, an event that will kick off a hands-on model for teacher professional development.
“The 2014 Delaware Dream Team is both an opportunity to recognize some of the state’s most accomplished teachers and a challenge to those individuals to continue to grow, to make collaboration an integral part of their practice and to create high-quality materials that will help teachers and students across our state…be successful,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said in a press release last month.
Delaware Dream Team members were chosen through a competitive application process that evaluated their understanding of the Common Core State Standards and their desire to “scale their impact” beyond the walls of their own classroom. Members will collaborate in groups with fellow teachers and Common Core coaches from across the country to create resources and receive feedback.
“My philosophy is if you want to influence what is coming down you need to have a voice,” commented Tanya Humes. “The Common Core Standards will allow teaching to become more focused on the student and create opportunities for the students to learn on their own.”
Mrs. Humes has been a teacher in the Milford SchoolDistrict for four years after owning a construction company with her husband for several years. She has a Bachelors Degree in English from the University of Delaware and a Masters Degree from Wilmington University in Secondary Education. Described by Humes as a state-wide professional learning communities (PLCs) session, TeachFest will allow Humes and Parsley the opportunity to develop professional development strategies in Milford so that teachers acknowledge and utilize the Common Core Standards in the classroom.
Jesse Parsley, a Milford School District Mathematics teacher for 11 years, believes that the Common Core standards in his area of study will allow students to learn the skills of procedural fluency and conceptual understanding. “Students will not only learn the process of executing problems but will also understand how they came to that answer and why it is relevant,” commented Parsley. Parsley earned his Bachelors degree in Business and Masters in Elementary Education. He also an adjunct instructor at Delaware Technical & Community College and Wilmington University.
Jesse urges new and experienced teachers not to become too worried about the new standards that are being implemented across the nation. “Teachers and students should not stress over the new standards,” commented Parsley. “We have had standards all along, they are more vocal now because it is nationalized.”
These English-language arts and mathematics standards establish consistent goals for learning that are designed to prepare children for success in college and work. Both Humes and Parsley believe the consistency in the new standards will allow teachers to address certain knowledge gaps between grade levels, as the tiered learning experience helps students to acquire information they may have missed in previous years. The Milford team also agrees that the implementation of Common Core Standards will take some time until they become a natural part of teaching.
“There will be a transition phase, people need to understand it will take some time,” commented Parsley. “The Dream Team is a great opportunity for us to bring some strategies to our building as we learn how to teach alongside the Common Core Standards.”