By Amanda Nikolai Baer, Teacher, Galt Joint Union High School District
Being a part of this team and process has been beyond fruitful to me as a teacher and intellectual. I am surrounded by educators that want nothing but the best for students and will put in the work to make it happen. What more can a new teacher ask for?! I have seen a direct impact in my teaching from this work.
On the schoolwide level, I see CALLI as an integral part of my school's culture. I am both GHS's ELD teacher and Activities Director, so my passion for academic language is equal to my passion for school spirit (things I realize aren't often grouped together). I call the work we do at CALLI the "academic piece of the culture puzzle." Phil Boyte says a school's culture starts with the adults, and my role as AD and as part of CALLI has reinforced that idea.
For example, our school adopted the theme "The Warrior Way" this year to build up our spirit as warriors on and off campus. To send the message to our students, my leadership class purchased Warrior Way shirts for every staff member. This gave our teachers the ability to reinforce our cultural message every time they wore their shirts. The same is true for CALLI. If we want to see a shift in classroom culture in regards to academic language (specifically, speaking and listening) then EVERY classroom needs to shift. Our work with CALLI is making that happen by creating plans, process, and tools that our teachers can take to their rooms tomorrow. This is what makes CALLI so valuable.