It’s Thursday- Thank a Teacher: Mallory Poole Edition

I had the amazing opportunity to connect with a talented teacher I hadn’t spoken with in 10 years. We met in college while attending Brigham Young University, but went our separate ways after we were hired on as teachers in different schools. I was so excited when I crossed paths with Ms. Mallory Poole this week. She is doing incredible things for the students in Utah, and it is my honor to thank her this week!


 Where did you do your teacher prep? I studied Special Education with an emphasis in mild/moderate disabilities at Brigham Young University.  I chose to student teach in Nebo district at Riverview Elementary with the experienced, Julie Beckham.  I received my bachelors in Special Education and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. 

Where have you taught in your teaching career?  I have taught in Alpine School District, and Spectrum Academy (charter school).

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said?  Too many to write down!  A student singing, “Shake it Off” as he walked down the hall with is canes (crutches and Dlyphos specialized shoes and ankle braces).  He would sing the entire song from bus to classroom dancing all the way. So cute.   

What one piece of advice would you give to new teachers? Care and advocate for your students. Students have a sixth sense I say; they know if you care.

What is your favorite teacher resource? Collaborating with other teachers.  I like taking general education activities and adapting them for our special needs students so they can feel part of the group.  I also like the internet sites like teachers pay teachers or super teachers worksheets for worksheet that do not have too many problems on a page to overwhelm students.

Describe any experience you have had in education policy. I have served on the Utah Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities advocating for special education. I am the chair of the Utah Special Education Advisory Panel, a group that advises the SPED State Director and the State School Board.  As a part of this, I helped revise the state special education laws that were approved in September 2016.  The panel also helped the school board understand the importance of making the LRBI manual a school wide manual not just SPED.   I attend SPED law conferences to be aware of current litigation. I educate parents about procedural safeguards and rights of they have of their child.  My motto is #careandadvocate 

What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? #careandadvocate I would like school administration to be more knowledgeable in special education.  I know of a principal who called the special needs students in his school retards. It would be great for IDEA to be fully funded.  ALL STUDENTS CAN LEARN when provided the appropriate opportunity and access to materials.

Mallory, thank you for being an advocate for students in Utah and for being a wonderful teacher and person.




Blogs for Teachers

There are many sources teachers can turn to for information or inspiration, and in the day and age of the internet it seems the online options are limitless. I am firm believer that the best resource for teachers is other teachers. However, that doesn’t always mean face to face conversations or structured PLCs. Many talented teachers have their own blogs or have created websites, and even more teachers serve as guest contributors. My friend (and a Utah teacher! Don’t be fooled by the Alabama in her bio, she recently relocated to Sugar House and is a Math Coach in Salt Lake City), Meghan Everette writes a successful blog series  for Scholastic. The teacher page on Scholastic  is a great place to find lessons, resources, and read about useful classroom tips from talented teachers (like Meg).  Her most current post is on “The What, How, and Why of Fidgets” This is a topic I can relate to as a parent and a teacher. Lately I noticed all the kids on my street playing with these spinner toys. My son of course “had to have one.” A few days letter my son’s principal sent home a letter to all families emphasizing that fidget spinners are not allowed in class. What is it with these things?


Meghan has written a whole post about spinners and other fidgets, and I contributed an awesome low cost classroom fidget solution, but you’ll have to read her article to find out what it is.

So, what do you think about teachers writing blogs or contributing to websites? Have you ever thought of sharing your expertise with a larger audience? Any thoughts on fidgets? Leave a comment below so I can visits your posts!



What it Takes to Move from Good to Great

I am honored to have participated in the study series for this powerful report that was released by the Center for Great Teachers and Leaders. The report digs into the answer to this key question “How have great teachers become the excellent educators they are today?” What is the secret sauce that moves a good teacher to a great teacher? Read the whole series of  the recently released “Investing in What it Takes to Move from Good to Great” report. The report includes comments and recommendations from teachers like me!



Thanks AIR for including me in this study.




Utah Teacher License Requirements


There has been a lot of changes and discussion around the teacher licensing requirements in Utah. It has been a hot topic with many opinions coming from teachers, administrators, and policy makers. The state is opening up this highly debated issue for public feedback. If you have ideas about the teaching licensing requirements in Utah, now is your chance to have your voice heard. Please read the below letter from the USBE Educator Licensing Coordinator:

Utah Educators,

The Utah State Board of Education Licensing Task Force is currently working on redesigning the educator licensing structure in Utah.  The task force would like to thank all of the individuals that have previously provided feedback at stakeholder meetings.  In order to gather feedback from as many individuals as possible a survey has been created regarding the currently proposed revisions.

We would like to invite you to participate in this survey by going to this link: .  A description of the current proposal is provided and there are 14 questions.  The survey will close at 10:00 am on Monday, May 15.  Please be aware that this survey focuses on general license structure.  Feedback regarding license areas and endorsements will be collected at a later date.

Thank you for your help in this matter.  Please feel free to share this link with others.  The Board would like to collect as much public feedback as possible.

This is a great opportunity to have teacher voice included in the requirements for our profession. Lets own it, and make an impact.