Stephanee Dorsey: In second grade at Uplift Mighty ohana culture is the reason for growth

Stephanee DorseyUplift Mighty Primary second grade teacher Stephanee Dorsey is proud of her heritage.  She brings her island roots and culture to the classroom to create an ohana (family) atmosphere.

“There is such a sense of ohana and teamwork in the class and the scholars are so proud to be a part of my University of Hawaii classroom. My dad is from the Bahamas and my mom is Samoan/Tongan from Fiji, and I was born in Hawaii.  I’m an all-around island girl and I love teaching scholars about that culture and what it means to be a part of a family, even if it’s a classroom family,” Ms. Dorsey said.

Ms. Dorsey’s ability to build a strong classroom culture centered on ohana, generated great results for the fourth year teacher.  Uplift Mighty scholars embraced their classroom ohana and helped each other to impressive gains on their Common Formative Assessments (CFA) and Measure of Academic Progress (MAP).  Ms. Dorsey’s class scored 58% on the math CFA this winter which was 16% below the network average.  By the end of the year, the class scored 81%, a 23 point improvement that was higher than the network average. MAP growth improved 21 points from the beginning of the year as well.

“The growth we saw in our math CFA was phenomenal.  We struggled during CFA 2, but buckled down and did amazing during CFA 3. The scholars have really fallen in love with math and it’s so evident in their daily scores in exit tickets, their attention span in math, their CFA scores and even our MAP scores I’m also super proud of the huge reading growth my scholars have made.  We achieved 2 years of MAP growth in our reading too,” Ms. Dorsey said.

Reading improvement happened this year thanks to scholar investment in Ms. Dorsey’s emphasis on a culture of literacy.  Uplift Mighty Primary Director Megan Vroman has taken note of the improvement and credits Ms. Dorsey’s ability to get scholar investment as a big reason for the growth.

“Stephanee serves a lot of scholars who are not native English speakers. She has created grammar walls and designed multi-sensory grammar activities to support her class’s language development. Her scholars are totally invested in their grammar wall and the new parts of speech they learn each day. She also has a college spotlight corner where scholars are able to write questions about college and Ms. Dorsey writes them back answering their questions then posts both in the college corner. Lots of scholars know their classroom colleges but Ms. Dorsey has deepened their thoughts on what it actually looks and feels like to attend college,” Ms. Vroman said.

Ms. Dorsey was recently promoted to third grade CTL and was named Uplift Mighty Primary “Teacher of the Year” at the Employee Appreciation Event.

“I actually do not know how I’ve received the teacher of the year award. It was all so exciting and I feel honored, but I just wanted to create a family atmosphere in my classroom” she said.

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