Meet Noora Mahmassani

Junior Associate Noora Mahmassani
Junior Associate Noora Mahmassani

Hometown: Frederick, Maryland
School: Georgetown University
Major: Linguistics
UELIP Committee Project: Noora helps find news articles for the UELIP Newsletter
DCPS Office: Office of Teaching and Learning, Elementary Literacy Team, Academic Language
Project: Noora’s main project is assisting Cara Hoppe in creating a Vocabulary Plan for Kindergarten through 8th Grade. The Vocabulary Plan is essentially a map of how teachers can incorporate 10-15 chosen academic terms per grade level into their existing teaching of the DCPS curriculum. Continue reading “Meet Noora Mahmassani”


My Experience with Academic Language

By Junior Associate: Noora Mahmassani

Talking to kids is one of the most important things parents and teachers can do set students up for academic success. As a Linguistics major, I have known this fact for years, but as a UELIP I’ve come to understand how it can be applied with kids and teachers in mind.

During my time as a UELIP, I’ve worked in the Academic Language specialty of the Elementary Literacy Team in the Office of Teaching and Learning. The goal of this specialty is to provide teachers with the tools that they need to increase the Academic English skills of students.

All kids, not just English language learners (ELLs), need support developing their Academic English. This type of language differs from Social English in that it is more complex and includes a specific vocabulary. Essentially, while Social English is the kind of  language you’d use to talk to a friend or cashier at the grocery store, Academic English is kind of language you’d find in a scholarly journal or use to give a presentation to your boss. Students need academic language to be successful in school.

My project this summer has been to help my supervisor create a Vocabulary Plan for students in grades K-8. Continue reading “My Experience with Academic Language”

Meet Kelley Monzella

Junior Associate Kelley Monzella
Junior Associate Kelley Monzella

Hometown: La Grange, Illinois
School: Boston College
Major: Sociology and Hispanic Studies
DCPS Office: Office of Teaching and Learning
Project: Kelley works with Crystal Hahn and Tovah Koplow on a variety of projects related to the Instructional Coaching Program. Thus far, she has examined teacher feedback of the Instructional Coaching Program and compiled a master list of teachers who received coaching during the 2013- 2014 school year. Continue reading “Meet Kelley Monzella”

Meet Matt Landrieu

Senior Associate Matt Landrieu taking life seriously
Senior Associate Matt Landrieu taking life too seriously

Hometown: New Orleans, LA
School: Louisiana State University
Major: Elementary Education
DCPS Office: Office of Teaching and Learning, Social Studies Team
Project: As a UELIP Junior Associate with the Social Studies Team, Matt works with Jayson Wilkinson and the rest of the social studies staff to create and revise various documents that are meant to guide Social Studies teachers in DC through the best practices and content for engaging students in a rigorous Social Studies experience. Continue reading “Meet Matt Landrieu”

Aspiring teachers, policy-makers, curriculum developers, and educational leaders intern here

By Senior Associate: Chelsea Rink

I recently graduated from a small Midwest university with degrees in education and English. Reflections during my June flight from the American Heartland to the capital of this nation allowed me to conclude that only three days before my first substantial post-graduate experience, I did not have a great sense for what my summer 2K13 was going to look like. I knew that I would be an unpaid intern in the main office of one of the most closely followed districts in the country. But I was anxious to learn whether or not my supervisors would trust me with substantial work; what my “Project CCARE” project designation meant; and whether this internship was a step in the right direction for someone who is interested in a teaching career. Continue reading “Aspiring teachers, policy-makers, curriculum developers, and educational leaders intern here”