We want to be the strongest standards-based social studies and science curriculum out there, so we’re upping our game.
Let us introduce you to a few of our recent powerhouse hires.
Kelly Jeffery is our new director of curriculum over ELA. She comes to Studies Weekly with 20 years of teaching experience, both as a teacher and as an instructional coach. She’s absolutely passionate about literacy, and loves the way integrated learning can promote it.
“I’m hoping to get teachers to look at content through the eyes of being able to use it for literacy. There is so much you can do with social studies and science to get them engaged, and then you sneak in the literacy skills,” she said. Social studies, science, the arts – those are the gateways into reading.”
An example of this comes from her own experience. She remembers coaching a teacher with one boy who didn’t even want to come to school. When he did attend, he resisted participating. The teacher she was coaching engaged him through some hands-on STEM lessons, and that work hooked him into reading.
“In order to complete the activities, you have to read directions, or do research. That got him into reading,” she said. “Now he tells everybody, ‘You don’t want to miss school.’ And now he reads on his own. And it all started with purposeful reading.”
Jeffery started the ground running, (and sometimes dancing) as soon as she joined Studies Weekly this summer, and is diligently working to align and correlate our social studies and science with ELA learning strategies.
When she’s not getting people excited about reading, she enjoys landscape photography, watching movies with her family, and curling up with a nice thick research book.
Sally Flaherty is our new social studies curriculum director. She comes to Studies Weekly after 43 years in the education field. Though she wasn’t allowed to be a social studies teacher when she started her career in the 1970s, she worked around that, eventually becoming a curriculum specialist, then a content advisor for the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
She is so dedicated to her content work, she jokes that she “dates dead men.” When she’s researching a historical figure, she immerses herself in their time and place.
“When I was researching George Washington, I walked where he walked. I spent a week at Mt. Vernon and sat with his papers, in his room. I mean, I saw his teeth,” she said with a laugh. “So, I was with him at a very intense level – like I was dating him for a week.”
Flaherty says she eats, sleeps and drinks social studies, and when she’s not working her day job, she’s doing research or traveling to historic sites. She’s thrilled to bring that experience and intensity of research to Studies Weekly.
“At Studies Weekly, you are truly influencing every child. What an opportunity to help kids know their government, their history, where they live,” she said.
When she’s not dragging family to yet another historic marker, she enjoys long-distance cycling. It was a happy day here recently when her road bicycle finally made it to Utah from Pennsylvania and was fully reassembled.
“When I had completed my first ride in Utah, I knew that all was right in my world,” she said afterwards.
Dusti Street is our new science curriculum director. She comes to Studies Weekly with 11 years of science and STEM teaching experience. She loves sharing her enthusiasm for science and STEM with students.
“I love how STEM gets kids to problem solve real world problems. They are learning skills for future careers that aren’t even invented yet,” she said. “I love science. I love how it answers the questions we all have.”
With her new position here, she’s analyzing our entire science curriculum and will be completely updating it. She’s dissecting it unit by unit to get to the heart of our science curriculum.
“I’m excited to be creative. I hope to create an amazing product people love and helps students find a love of science and STEM and get excited about learning,” she said. “I love creating real-world lessons and I’m excited to do that here.”
When she’s not performing mad scientist experiments (we promise, she knows what she’s doing), she hikes and swims. On the weekends, she smokes meats – steak, prime rib, pulled pork, etc. She doesn’t mind the 12+ hour process, and the patience it teaches.
“Plus, it tastes so good!” she said.
These women have only been here a couple of months, but are already a dynamic driving force in bettering our product. Great things are coming through their teams, product changes that will inspire students and strengthen teachers’ learning strategies.