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Teacher Feature with AVID teacher, Ms. Roark

Roark with students

Welcome to the first edition of ECHS Teacher Feature! In this section, we will be getting to know some of the Early College (ECHS) tiger staff. Our first interview is with sophomore AVID teacher Ms. Kelly Roark, who has been teaching for 23 years although she is new to the ECHS family.

Q: How did the idea of joining ECHS first come about?

A: When I taught IDS 109 (to the current 11th graders), I mentioned to a class one day that I was thinking of returning to teach with CCSD. Many of the students expressed that they thought I would be a good fit for an AVID teacher as much of the IDS curriculum aligned with the AVID curriculum. I investigated more, observed AVID teachers at ECHS last year ,and thought it seemed like a very rewarding and worthwhile program that was beneficial to the long term success for students. And, helping students learn skills that will benefit them for the long term is what I'm all about.

Q: How has the transfer been from being a Trident Tech teacher to an ECHS teacher?

A: The 5:30 AM alarm is a big change. The 7:10 radio check is an even bigger change.The technology and the platforms used at ECHS (Google Suite) is completely different from those used at TTC (Word, D2L), but I'm catching on, and the faculty and staff at ECHS has been very helpful in helping me learn the ropes. 

Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you? 

A: Learning all student's names, and learning the technology...the Promethean Board, PowerSchool, Google Classroom, Google Hang-out, Google Documents, Sharing documents, not using a jump drive, the Achieve 3000 platform, creating a Google assignment (you get the idea).

Q: How are high school students different from college students?

A: The students at ECHS are very similar to the students I taught for over 13 years at TTC.  All the students I have encountered are driven and very motivated to do well.

Q: What unique qualities do you bring to ECHS?

A: I have worked in many different schools and for many different universities (some as an adjunct instructor). Those schools are Burns, James Simons, Ft. Johnson Middle School, TTC, Nova Southeastern University, Drake University, etc..and I have learned from each and every experience. This school is by far the most organized school I have worked in, and I bring a true appreciation for all of the systems that are in place at this school.

Q: What kind of student were you when you were in school and what advice can you give to students who may be the same way?

A: I was a student who wanted good grades when I was in high school, but was unsure how to study. I didn't really learn how to study until I was in college, or even until I was in graduate school. AVID, IDS 109 and the RDG 100 (critical reading) classes I have taught offer students direct instruction about how to use effective strategies to study and use the meta-cognitive skills necessary to do well. My advice is to use the skills and strategies that you have been taught (or will be taught this year) and really take the time to learn how to and practice the skill of studying and actively reading.

Q: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be instead?

A: Originally, I wanted to be a nurse, but discovered that Chemistry and Biology weren't my thing. After really loud days in the classroom and teaching, I tell my family, and have told many students, I'm going to become a postmaster when I retire. Delivering mail seems like it's a quiet task, and I love being outside.

Q: If you could go back to high school to do one thing, what would it be?

A: When I was in high school, I was the captain of the swim team. Those were fun times.