"It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations—something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own." —Katherine Patterson
Hello, my name is Sandra Mitchell. I am the Intermediate Literacy Coach at Benton and have been since 2005. My job has me working with teachers in grades four through six, fostering the best literacy practices. Working in this position has had me teaching (as the need arises) an onsite graduate class offered through the University of Maine in Orono. Most recently, I had the fortune of teaching the class alongside my professional partner, Lisa Roy. In addition, Lisa Roy and I work diligently providing yearly, ongoing Professional Development for all teachers at Benton.
As a Literacy Coach I also act as an interventionist. Here I may work with students on a one-on-one basis or in a small group sineiro. It is at this time that I actively put into practice the learning I gleaned while taking the year long graduate class, Comprehensive Intervention Model from Whendy Smith.
As a Literacy Coach I believe in assisting the classroom teachers I work with in maintaining an up-to-date Independent Classroom Library. I do this by researching the latest student novels, deciding which grade level they are best suited to, placing the order with the goal of getting the books into the classrooms and in the hands of our students as soon as possible. In addition, my classroom library is open to students to drop by independently to sign books out. This was a wee bit of a risk, however our Benton students never cease to amaze me, as they work this honor system both responsibly and seamlessly.
Of note, I am and always have been a traveler and wherever I may find myself in the world, the students at Benton seem to always be with me in spirit. If a connection can be made to their learning, I am always excited in attempting to bring a little bit of this back to them. In doing so, it not only elevates their learning but whets their appetite for what their future lives may have in store as well.
I received my Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees from Acadia University located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. In addition, I am the proud recipient of two Fulbright Scholarships. My education continued through the University of Maine in Orono. There I studied and trained to become a certified Literacy Coach. Once accomplished, my studies continued and I went on to become an Advanced Literacy Coach. During the summer of 2008 I had the privilege of writing professionally for Dr. Janet Allen (International Literacy Consultant) for her program, Plugged-In to NonFiction. This is a Recorded Audio Book program we use throughout our district. Today I continue to keep myself professionally on the cutting edge by enrolling in specifically selected classes, attending literacy conferences, along with yearly Continued Professional Development both through the university and here at Benton.
I grew up in the coastal province of Nova Scotia, Canada and emigrated to Maine through second Fulbright. Since then I have proudly worked for MSAD 49. In my years prior to coaching, I taught a range of grades that spanned first through sixth. Reflecting back, there was not a grade I did not fall in love with. I saw, and continue to see students/teachers where they are and envision where I can take them as learners. My thinking clearly mirrors that of Katherine Patterson, “The more passion you have about something, the more likely it will translate into a passion in the student. Everyone develops a passion because someone shared a passion when that person was young.” Yes, my aim has and will always be, to promote passionate, lifelong learners.