Meeting Nancy Wright Beasley

Last month at the Monroe Scholars Book Award Luncheon, SURN Executive Director Jan Rozzelle met Nancy Wright Beasley, author of Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust. Beasley’s book tells the story of Jewish families who survived the Holocaust, going into hiding with the help of another family. It is a powerful story based on memoirs and personal interviews. An exhibit at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond retells the story. Both the book and the exhibit are highly recommended!

N.W. Beasley


A Successful CCR Session

Yesterday SURN hosted our last College and Career Readiness session of the year for middle and high school teachers. Check out photo highlights of the day’s events below!





Visible Leading for Secondary English Language Arts


The SURN Visible Leading for Secondary English Language Arts teachers focuses on scaffolding college and career readiness skills in English classes. Through the workshops, teachers consider how they can best address college and career readiness learning outcomes in their own classrooms through learning experiences focused on student engagement in authentic writing, choice reading, and project based learning with a purpose. The following resources are excellent starting points for school and teacher reflection on college and career readiness in their own schools and classrooms. Use these links to reflect on your own practice, start a conversation with your colleagues or student, or get ideas for new strategies to implement in your school or classroom.

Blendspace Learning Module: Virginia College and Career Readiness for Secondary English

This SURN learning module guides you through a brief overview of the VA college and career readiness initiative, video reflections by SURN teachers who have been a part of the implementation process, and other resources that have helped to inform the implementation of the CCR English Performance Expectations into Virginia English classes and SURN workshops.

The Virginia Department of Education College and Career Readiness Initiative Website
The VDOE website provides the CCR performance expectations and course information for English and Math and the data, resources, and research that support the statewide initiative.

The National Council of Teachers of English Position Statement on Leisure Reading
Independent, self-selected reading has a positive impact on students’ reading comprehension, vocabulary, and engagement. Policymakers, administrators, teachers, and families need to foster efforts to increase opportunities for leisure reading in and out of the classroom.

The National Day on Writing
On October 20, 2014, teachers and students across the US participated in the National Day on Writing. They spent time writing across different modes, for different audiences, and for different purposes. Find out more about the event, and more importantly, examples and resources for supporting authentic writing experiences in school every day.

College and Career Readiness Workshop

Motivating adolescents to read can be a challenge for educators; however, we know that there are four factors that make a significant positive difference when it comes to adolescent reading. Students who have knowledge goals for reading, choice in what they read, interesting texts, or opportunities to collaborate are not only more motivated to read, but also have increased reading comprehension and achievement (Guthrie & Humenick, 2004). On Tuesday Oct. 7, 45 secondary ELA teachers gathered together at SURN for our first of four workshops in the 2014-15 school year. This workshop series will focus on building student engagement and literacy practices in order to best prepare students for college and career. Each teacher left the workshop with two contemporary YA books – one fiction and one nonfiction – to help to jumpstart literacy efforts this year. Below are the titles from which they were able to choose.

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SURN College and Career Readiness Institute

SURN Book Recommendations

book recommendations 4 paige and kerri infographic

By SURN Graduate Assistants, Kerri Mahoney and Paige Hendricks

Getting Started with Text Sets

Getting Started with Text Sets

Follow this link to a lesson plan on introducing text sets to students: