Thursday, February 27, 2014

Welcoming New WIDA Bloggers, Part 1: Heather Jung

The goal for the WIDA blog has always been to give educators a way to look at things from the perspective of a peer who has an understanding of what educators face on a regular basis, and to offer new ideas or strategies.  That is why Tammy King was our blogger instead of WIDA staff.  WIDA has an amazing group of talented professionals who could contribute to the blog, but much like the goal of the WIDA National Conference, the intent of the blog is not to be about WIDA.  Rather, WIDA is the conduit for what is presented, so that it can be applicable to educators everywhere, regardless of Consortium membership.

Taking that goal in mind, we have reached out to several people to blog for us. We believe they will offer readers the information, understanding, and ideas that will create opportunities to enrich their practice, as well as a forum for thoughtful, informed discussion.

In the first of a series of introductions to our new bloggers, we are pleased to introduce Heather Jung.

Hello WIDA Community Members!

My name is Heather Jung and I am honored to have been asked by WIDA to share some of my experiences with you on their blog.

So who am I?

I have worked for 15 years with high needs students in public schools in Maryland and Virginia in the diverse melting pot of the Washington D.C. Metro area.  I have worked as a classroom teacher, a reading recovery teacher, and an ELL resource teacher.  I presented at the 2013 WIDA National Conference last October in Milwaukee and at the National Reading Recovery and K-6 Classroom Literacy Conferences in 2012, 2013 and 2014.  I currently serve as the first and second grade ELL Resource teacher.

My school is in Alexandria, Virginia (a suburb of Washington, D.C. bordering the Potomac River). We have approximately 650 students in grade PreK through Grade 6.  We are a Title 1 school and nearly 50% of our students live below the poverty line.   One third of our students are ELLs.  They come from a wide range of areas including: South America, the Middle East, and North Africa.   We have 22% mobility and a staff of over 100 people.

We are housed in a 55 year old one-story brick building with adjacent trailers, picnic tables and chairs or rocks for sitting.  We have a very active gardening program with more than 14,000 square feet of gardens.  Students, staff, and families in our community work together in the garden growing produce, plants, and trees indigenous to the state of Virginia.  We put on an International Day each year where the students and their families get to display their unique cultures with each other.  Staff members also go on a "Welcome Walk" to visit each student's home during the week before the each school year begins to welcome them back to school.

My personal life is also integrated in multicultural community. My husband emigrated here with his family from South Korea at the age of 4. We have friends from diverse backgrounds including, El Salvador, Peru, Cambodia, and Pakistan. Some came as children and some came as adults. All of them had to learn to communicate when they arrived. They have shared their stories and struggles with me. I will bring this knowledge and some of their stories toy blog as well as those from the children and families that I work with professionally.

As I begin this new journey as a blogger I want to start by saying that, behind every good teacher there is a great teacher that they collaborate with.  I have been very blessed to have had the support of phenomenal co-teachers, colleagues, and friends throughout my career!  It is my sincere hope that my blog posts will provide me with an opportunity to share their brilliance, creativity, and dedication with a larger community.

Welcome photo by Keith Tyler via Creative Commons.

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