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 Marco Palmieri, I teach grade 11 chemistry and physics. I am also the staff’s teacher coach. The best thing about teaching at Centennial is the team approach in coming up with strategies to improve student success. As a team, we often re-evaluate these strategies and everyone is responsible for taking an active role in proposing solutions.
What are the top 3 things that you think make Centennial Academy unique?
The structures that are in place to help student success are unique. Before looking at grades, we focus on learning behaviours, which often guides our discussions with students about their success in school. We have a level coach who follows up with student work while working in partnership with the teachers. Teacher’s lessons are structured in a very similar way, regardless of the subject they are teaching. Teachers believe that students need routine and predictability and all teachers at Centennial share this value. Teachers also have level meetings where teachers of that level get together in collaboration with the Director of student growth in order to problem solve student issues.
Tell me about one of your favorite teaching memories/story?
In grades 7-8-9, students must create a science fair project and if they choose to, can participate in the school’s science fair and Regional science fair. I remember a student who was motivated by his project and he was always looking to find ways to make his project better. He always responded well to my feedback and in the end, not only did he win the school’s science fair for his level, but also won a gold medal at the Regional science fair.
What do you think your students like the most about you?
I believe students know that I’m a fair teacher that treats everyone equally. I don’t make deals with students or offer special treatment and I know they appreciate this of me.
Describe a typical classroom experience or a typical day at Centennial?
Centennial prides itself in making sure teachers are delivering effective and engaging lessons. This means that we minimize teacher talk and students spend more doing instead of listening. All classes at Centennial follow a routine and predictable structure, regardless of the subject taught.
Describe in your own words the Centennial Academy Approach and how UDL really works?
Centennial’s approach is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students opportunities to be successful. We believe that it’s important to shape our lessons to fit our students. This means, for example, presenting concepts in a variety of ways. In science classes, we have various tools to help us do this: PowerPoint presentations, course pack questions and notes, online simulations, hands on labs and online lab activities. We also focus on study strategies and organization. In science, we have students create memory aids before quizzes and tests. Even if they aren’t allowed to use them for tests, it is a requirement for them to create one in order to show that they’ve gone through their notes and reviewed.