Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Year in Review

    The 2014-15 school year was an exciting one for the Williamsburg Area Reading Council! Here are the highlights of the year's events.

WARC Winners

    Members were eligible for several special opportunities during the year. At the October 2014 Fall Mini-Conference, membership drive winners were announced for WARC members. The grand prize of a school visit with Brian Floca went to member Ellen Picard of Stonehouse Elementary School in the WJCC Public School System. The First Prize of $200 money for literacy purposes went to member Melissa Butler, reading specialist at James River Elementary School of WJCC Public Schools. The Second Prize of a $30 Barnes and Noble gift card went to Deanna Guiseppi of WJCC's D.J. Montague Elementary School. 

Annual Author Visit 

      We had the 2014 Caldecott Winning Author and Illustrator Brian Floca visit us in October. He also made school visits at three different local schools. His presentations were engaging and insightful! We highly recommend him! 
Matthew Whaley Media Specialist and WARC Member, Mrs. Rachel Corliss, posed here with  Brian Floca after his presentation at the school in October.
One of the schools that Brian Floca presented at was Matthew Whaley Elementary in Williamsburg, VA.
Brian Floca shared more specific details about his Caldecott Award winning text Locomotion with Mrs. Katie Plum's third graders. Mrs. Plum is also a member of WARC.

Brian Floca stopped by the second grade classroom of WARC member Mrs. Charlotte Bush. He drew this drawing for her class in just a few minutes!

Brian visited the second graders in the classroom of WARC member Mrs. Susan Alis. They were having a Publishing Party that day, and Mr. Floca was the V.I.P. guest!

1st Annual WARC Mini-Conference

     The Williamsburg Area Reading Council branched out with its variety of events this past year! The 1st Annual WARC Mini-Conference took place in October at the College of William and Mary's School of Education in the Professional Development Center. It was a big hit with attendees! Two different times for mini-sessions occurred prior to the keynote presentation with Brian Floca. Attendees had a selection of two different choices for each of the two time frames, which allowed for attendees to choose the best option for their teaching niche. 

 Caldecott Award winning author Brian Floca served as the keynote speaker at the First Annual WARC Fall Mini-Conference.
     The four presenters who shared their expertise for the sessions were members of WARC. Mrs. Denise Trainor, a 1st grade teacher in York County, shared effective strategies for taking on Writer's Workshop in the elementary grades. Mrs. Kristy Haight, a librarian with York County Public Schools, presented on technology integration for nonfiction research. 

 Kristy Haight, a WARC member and York County Media Specialist, shared how to integrate kid-friendly technology into nonfiction reading and researching experiences. 

     Mrs. Lisa Smith, reading specialist at Norge Elementary, and Mrs. Wendy Lucy, reading specialist at Matthew Whaley Elementary, presented "sister" presentations on nonfiction mentor texts. Mrs. Lucy shared fresh mentor texts for science topics, and Mrs. Smith presented on mentor texts that supported social studies and history.

Mrs. Lisa Smith, WARC member and reading specialist for the WJCC Public Schools, presented on history and social studies nonfiction mentor texts. 

  The opportunity to meet Brian Floca and have him sign copies of books rounded out the evening. Attendees were also able to enjoy a boxed dinner from Jimmy John's while hearing the opening presentations, too. 

 WARC Member Susan Alis had a copy of the book Locomotive signed by Brian Floca. This book was donated by WARC to the Matthew Whaley Media Center in honor of her nomination for WARC Reading Teacher of the Year.

3rd Annual New Book Talk 

     The popular 3rd Annual New Book Talk took place in early December of 2014. Three WARC members presented on new books for elementary, middle school, and high school age students. The event was held at the Bruton Parish Center in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, which is also right next door to Barnes and Noble. Kelly Pratts, of Bethel Manor Elementary in York County, presented fresh picture books for the elementary crowd. Nellie Williams, from Grafton Middle School in York County, presented on chapter books that are popular with middle schoolers. Lee DeGroft, of Jamestown High School in Williamsburg, shared what was popular with a variety of high schoolers. A hot chocolate and biscotti bar was enjoyed by all as well!

   WARC Reading Teacher of the Year

Mrs. Susan Alis found out about her WARC Reading Teacher of the Year honor during a guest read aloud visit from Dr. Constantino on Read Across America Day. Dr. Constantino is the Superintendent of the Williamsburg-James City County Public School Division. 

      February was the due date for the WARC Reading Teacher of the Year nominations. This year, the WARC Board Members selected Mrs. Susan Alis, second grade teacher at Matthew Whaley Elementary in Williamsburg, VA. All applications for TOY are judged based on the grading rubric provided by the Virginia State Reading Association, as well as letters of recommendation and a review of each applicant's philosophy of reading instruction. Mrs. Alis will represent WARC at the state level in this upcoming year's VSRA State Reading Teacher of the Year. We are proud to have Susan represent the passion and principles of our organization! Be thinking of who you would like to nominate for the WARC RTOY for the 2015-16 school year! It is a special accomplishment to add to your resume and portfolio. Winners receive an engraved pewter award plate, as well as a $250 dollar award at a reception held in April! Also, a picture book is donated to the winner's Media Center with a special book plate to honor their award.

 WARC member Susan Alis was the 2015 Williamsburg Area Reading Council's Reading Teacher of the Year. She was honored at a reception attended by WARC members. In the photo above, from left to right, Peggy Constantino, WARC President Dr. Denise Johnson, WARC RTOY Susan Alis, and WARC Board Member Sarah Lichtel.

 In the photo above, from left to right, Matthew Whaley Principal and WARC member Robin Ford, 2015 WARC RTOY Susan Alis, and WARC Board Member Sarah Lichtel.

 Building Reps Happy Hour

     An annual Happy Hour for WARC Building Representatives and WARC Board Members was held at Carrabba's in early June. The board shared thoughts for the upcoming school year, and got feedback from building representatives as well. The Happy Hour is WARC's way of thanking the building representatives for their advocacy of WARC at their respective schools.