Introduce yourself and the courses you teach. What, in your opinion, is the best thing about being a teacher at Centennial Academy?
My name is Mr. De Vito, I teach middle school math and science. The best thing about being a teacher at Centennial Academy is helping students achieve success and meet their potential by becoming better learners. To do this we use many different strategies and tools that meet the universal design for learning (UDL).[/row]
What are the top 3 things that you think make Centennial Academy unique?
- Our unique UDL approach to teaching.
- The high level of structure and routine that we provide in class.
- Our continuing commitment to help students overcome the barriers to learning.
Tell me about one of your favorite teaching memories/story?
I come from a sports background, so I really enjoy coaching soccer at Centennial because it allows me to get to know the students better in a non-class environment while having fun on the field. Students often call me coach when they see me in the school. I also enjoy having the privilege of teaching students in grade 7 and 8 and then watching them grow as learners. I have fond memories of students thanking me for helping them reach their learning goals when they were younger.
What do you think your students like the most about you?
I feel like they appreciate my patience and understanding when it comes to their learning needs. I always encourage them to give me feedback so that I can become a better teacher. I think they appreciate that.
Describe a typical classroom experience or a typical day at Centennial?
A typical math class in middle school usually begins by the teacher taking attendance while making sure that each student is prepared and sitting in the appropriate learning position. Next, go over reminders such as upcoming assessments. Then, students do a warmup activity such as a warm-up question, memory aid builder or weekly assignment. Afterwards, correct homework by having students come to the white board and explain to the rest of class what to do. Following this, students copy notes in course pack by viewing a Power Point and filling in the blanks. Students then do an exit card by answering a specific question and seeking feedback from teacher. Finally, they start new homework by completing questions in course pack which has a model of what to do. Students end class by getting ready for the next period.
Describe in your own words the Centennial Academy Approach and how UDL really works.
The Centennial Academy approach involves a common framework in the class that involves using strategies and structure that helps all students. For example, chair slippers reduce the number of distractions that a normal chair would make. Binders are color coded which makes it easier for students to get prepared. Scaffolding techniques are used when teaching, for example, the first question is shown step by step what to do while the next questions have less and less support.