November 26, 2013
23295 Sw Main St
Sherwood Oregon, 97140
Dear Superintendent Dr. Heather H. Cordie
My name is Anna Verdun and I reside in Sherwood Oregon and attend Portland Community College. I would like to begin by thanking you sincerely for your public service and for being such a great example of what a great school District stands for and believes in. Your school District is a great role model for the rest of the districts Nationwide. I have spent the last 6 weeks researching about collaboration and how it is used nationwide in schools, the benefits and the positive things.
I have had the honor to be able to volunteering in one of your schools (Middleton Elementary) I have enjoyed the opportunity to have the time and getting to know your staff and students. It has been a pleasure to work side by side with one of the fourth grade teachers and learning about reading groups and collaboration. I have to say what a wonderful school and everyone is very helpful and friendly. I have been welcomed and it feels great to be part of a great community. Your front office staff is great help when I needed to get my background clearance and how the process works.
Working in the classrooms has been fun and I have learned a lot. I appreciate the teacher opening her classroom to me and allowing me to work with great students. As well as allowing me to ask ongoing questions.
I have volunteered in other schools outside your district and have had other opportunities to observe collaboration. I really like and inspired by the way your team collaborates in the school and that they stand behind what they believe and that is striving to make education better and have students achieve their goals and be successful in their everyday learning. I am intrigued on how the teaching staff feels that collaboration allows and gives to the meaning of collaboration.
I do have a few questions for you. I was wondering what does the future look like moving forward with implementing collaboration. Have you looked at seminars that the teachers can attend for helpful tools and ideas? They could also use this for Continuing Education Credits. Have you thought about how to involve the community, i.e. parents so they understand the importance and can help in the schools? Have you thought about having your District be a Role Model for other Districts and mentor other teachers? I think this would be a great opportunity to show how your students and teachers benefit from this. Maybe you could even find a school that isn’t using Collaboration and be a mentor to them. I hope you will find my suggestions helpful and encouraging. As an educator myself and having children in the school district I am a big advocate for this, and as I have been a volunteer at one of your schools, I have learned much more.
Once again thank you for the opportunity to allow me to dedicate my time to volunteer.
Resources for Writing Your Own Advocacy Letter
How to write a letter to a government official (which is helpful for writing to major corporations too):
How to write a letter to a school Superintendent
When I first decided to enroll in an online- service based writing class at Portland Community College, my first thoughts were how I am going to write about community work and do projects. Along the way it started making since and when I was given a list of things we could choose from, one of them were education, I knew without a doubt that was what I was going to choose. I have a Masters Degree in education and I have always been intrigued with Collaboration. I spent many years in a few different school districts and have also volunteered as a parent and as well as a student going through my program. It always amazed me the difference from school to school and district to district. I look back on my experiences and I see how little Collaboration was used. I remembered asking this question to a Teacher one time and she said it was because they didn’t have time. Now that I have a better understanding what Collaboration is, I believe it is because they didn’t know how to use it or simply didn’t want to. My research question I had from the beginning is: Does Collaboration really works in schools between teachers to teachers and student to students? Are students more successful when teachers have collaboration? What I found to be true is that it does. Students benefit from this so much, it has increased their test scores as well. Teachers get together and plan and help students who are struggling so no one feels left behind. Teachers don’t get burnt out as much, and are happier and coming up with new ideas. Teaching in a collaborative environment allows educators to divide up the tasks at hand, making classroom activities more manageable.
Here are some articles that have helped me better understand the issues, and Benefits of Collaboration in schools:
The advantages of Collaboration in Education
This article is about creating a collaborative educational environment that can build a community of caring individuals who are all working towards one common goal
The Advantages of Collaboration in Education
Teachers need time to collaborate with one another, reports The Washington Post, but they rarely receive it, especially during times of budget shortfalls.