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B. ABOUT Ms. GRAY

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Welcome to My Classroom!
Melissa Gray
7th/8th English Language Arts Teacher
 
Milan School District C-2373
S. Market Street
Milan, MO  63556
p. 660.265.4414 Ex. 1472

ABOUT ME

MY BIO
My name is Melissa Gray. I am from Lancaster, Missouri, and recently became a Milan resident with my 4 daughters. After having taught in the Milan C-2 School District for 1 year, both myself and my daughters realized this is a special place that we all wanted to become a part of. This is my 2nd year teaching at Milan C-2 Schools as the 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts Teacher. 
 
 I attended college through Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA earning a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Secondary Education emphasis. I have a number of graduate credits towards a degree as a secondary reading specialist. I wasn't able to finish that program because the university I was taking classes through phased out the secondary reading specialist emphasis. I decided not to pursue an emphasis in elementary reading as an alternative.
 

I began my teaching career at La Plata R-II in 2006. I taught there for 2 years before moving to an incredible small town school located in Brashear, Missouri.This experience is where I began to thrive as an educator, and began to really question the learning experiences typically provided for students. I began to investigate my own practice and study my craft. I taught both English and Spanish at Adair County R-II at Brashear for 3 years before I decided to pursue another opportunity. I applied at a handful of districts across the Midwest before accepting a position at East Sac Community School District in Lake View, Iowa. I wanted to find out if teaching and learning was the same in other places.

I landed in Lake View, Iowa the summer of 2011 with my 4 daughters. I found what I was looking for in my mentor Dr. Kevin Fiene who saw my desire to rethink the way we engage young minds. At East Sac, I was hired to teach sophomore English with a few electives. Dr. Fiene provided me with a safe place to innovate in my classroom by providing me with professional development to improve instruction and encouragement to keep going. This mentorship resulted in outcomes where students made major improvements in the high school English classroom. I was able to participate in excellent professional development opportunities where I learned how to design and write curriculum units that connected state standards with authentic, and engaging learning opportunities.

Because of the excitement that grew out of the professional development opportunities provided by Dr. Fiene and our district, I was able to develop a close professional relationship with 2 other educators that were intent on rethinking how we approached our classroom practice. Ironically, the combining of minds was outside the English content area. Ben Wise was and remains as the agriculture teacher at East Sac. We were joined by another educator intent on rethinking how we teach and learn in Erin Goddard. She was one of the high school math teachers. We formed a trio as English, Math, and Agriculture teachers using our classrooms as the learning grounds to grow in our teaching practice. This collaboration produced many informal peer observations, and after school discussions that ultimately became the foundation for our quest to become better educators.

Our after school conversations reflecting on our teaching practice sparked us to become active learners ourselves resulting in students who were impacted over the course of those 5 years. Eventually, life ended up providing opportunities for the 3 of us in different places doing different things. My friend Ben is still teaching at East Sac, and my friend Erin decided to give motherhood a try. I moved back home to Northeast Missouri to be closer to family ultimately ending up in Milan, Missouri. 

I am very excited to be teaching 7th, and 8th grade English Language Arts at Milan C-2. Never in a million years did I think I'd end up teaching at a school that was my alma matter's rival back in the day, but I'm so excited to get the opportunity to be a part of where this district is headed. 

I enjoy teaching at this age level after a career centering in the instruction of high school students. I love teaching such an extraordinary group of kids.

In both 7th and 8th grade, we are investigating how writers create stories, and how story is such a huge part of the study of our present lives. Writers are the people who come up with solutions to the problems in our society, and ultimately change the world. We are learning to view life through the lens of real writers by analyzing literature, and trying our own hand at writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. 

I am thrilled to be working at Milan C-2, and look forward to teaching your kids, and meeting you at ball games and events.