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					Stacy D. Brasfield
Chemistry Teacher
Washington-Lee High School
1301 N. Stafford Street
Arlington, Virginia
(703) 228-6200

Curriculum Vitae Highlights:
   Over 21 years of service as a professional chemistry teacher in Arlington, Virginia,
    specializing in all levels of academic chemistry, including Advanced Placement and
    International Baccalaureate Chemistry (High Level).
   Developed and promoted the academic chemistry programs at three prominent high
    schools in Virginia, stressing enhanced laboratory activities to promote critical
    thinking and deductive reasoning.
   Recognized as a leader in teacher mentorship countywide through the development
    and promotion of beginning teachers.
   Researcher and developer of teaching strategies that promote classroom activities
    that involve higher reasoning skills that students need to become lifelong learners.
   Enhances classroom instruction with state-of-the art teaching technology such as
    online learning and laboratory tools.
   A dynamic instructor that engages students’ interest to think scientifically and
    pursue scientific endeavors.

Education:
M.A. New Professional Studies: Teaching, George Mason University, July 2003
Science Teaching Certificate, George Mason University, 1987
B.S. Chemistry, George Mason University, May 1983

Professional Experiences:
Arlington Public Schools                                      1987 to present
Secondary School Teacher, Chemistry and Mathematics
Currently teaching Advanced Placement Chemistry, International Baccalaureate
Chemistry and Intensified Chemistry at Washington-Lee High School since 1996.
Mentor Teacher for 8 new/returning science teachers since 1999. Developed online
Blackboard courses that include online assignments and resources. Organized the plans
for the Intensified classes schoolwide. Teacher researcher and presentor. Taught
Intensified Chemistry, Chemistry, and Principles of Chemistry at Yorktown High
School from 1992-1996. Taught all levels of chemistry and mathematics at H-B
Woodlawn Secondary Program from 1987 to 1992.

Defense Nuclear Agency                                        1982-1986
Nuclear Health Physicist
Operated the Radioanalysis lab, analyzing samples for investigators and the Radiation
Safety Department at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute. Obtained a
Senior Reactor Operator’s license for operating the nuclear research reactor.
Current Academic Responsibilities:
International Baccalaureate Chemistry (HL)
Advanced Placement Chemistry
Intensified Chemistry

Teaching Philosophy:
    With high stakes testing requirements, teachers are under a great deal of pressure to
cover as much content as possible in a very short period of time. Some instructors might
resort to teaching to the test. Emphasizing higher order objectives might seem to be a
luxury that cannot be afforded. Teacher planning time is in short supply, classes are too
large; and teachers find it most efficient to use commercially produced materials. Yet
students remember things that make sense. Herron says, “When knowledge is
meaningful, connections are made between ideas. The more connections, the easier
information can be recalled when needed. Nonsense or rote material lacks these
connections and is forgotten.”
        The balance lies in designing a class that provides some activities whose objective
is to promote automation of skill development, some activities with an objective to
promote understanding of concepts, and some activities whose objective is to develop
higher orders of reasoning. Naturally a few activities will meet more than one objective,
but no activity is expected to meet all of these objectives. Students should be encouraged
to read the textbook, to learn the vocabulary, and to take notes during a lecture. These
activities may not be at the highest levels of thought, but they form a good foundation
for further analysis, and they permit students of varying backgrounds to begin in the
same place. Other activities, such as labs, should be included to help students make
connections, and to develop further understanding of the concepts. Activities that
require communication of ideas, either through writing, presentations, or by working
with other students, will also promote deeper thought. The collaboration process fosters
development of higher order thinking skills. As the school year progresses and a
knowledge base develops, activities that make connections between previously learned
concepts are especially beneficial. Repetition is a powerful learning tool, so multiple
opportunities for learning are also beneficial. Teachers may need to individualize their
feedback for crucial concepts, and allow students to redo weak work. Finally, as test
season approaches, the students’ test taking skills can be enhanced with drill and
practice. This cumulative review uses lower level thinking, but many students find value
in repeating the highlights once again. In fact, the fast-paced repetition may help some
students to see connections that they missed at a slower pace.
              I have found wisdom in Richard Feynman’s view that teaching requires a
multitude of teaching techniques or tools, such that some students become hooked in
one and others are hooked in another. Stephen Brookfield says, “More often than not,
any ideas or suggestions that we pick up [on teaching] will have to be sculpted to fit the
local conditions in which we work.” In fact, there is interplay between content
knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and critical reflection, and an expertise in these
areas is important to good teaching.
        Most importantly, however, is the notion that since all knowledge is constructed,
no teacher can imprint information into a student’s mind. (Herron) The student must
engage himself in the learning process. A student will participate if he is present and
motivated to learn. Motivation may come from getting good grades, but motivation is
improved when the student feels like the knowledge is relevant and interesting. In my
view, this is a powerful argument for engaging students in activities that promote
greater understanding. I have become more certain that students will benefit from
critical thinking skills -- that these thinking skills do not always happen automatically,
and that they can be explicitly taught. It is more important to teach thinking skills than
it is to teach chemistry without the thinking. I have become skeptical of efforts to “dumb
down” the curriculum. Such efforts will only achieve the lowest common denominator of
thinking in our society. While opportunities to learn should be provided to all students,
we need to maintain or raise our expectations for them, not lower them to the level of
trivializing information. Students need to be challenged academically to understand,
question, analyze, find patterns in, and synthesize information. Chemistry should not be
a course where students are presented with chemistry trivia; rather, they should be
taught to probe deeper—to learn how to think logically and critically.

Teaching Innovations/ Course Development:
Student Feedback
I regularly ask students to give me feedback on how their learning is progressing. I ask
them to write me a “learning letter” or to give quick feedback on the class and their
experiences. By doing this, students become more reflective about the learning process
and begin to identify for themselves those habits that they need to develop in order to be
successful.

State of the Art Technology
I think it is important to elevate teaching to the highest levels through state-of-the-art
technology, so I have developed online courses for the Intensified Chemistry classes and
the A.P and I.B. Chemistry classes. I have updated laboratory activities to use current
techniques and equipment, such as Vernier probeware. This year I applied for and won a
grant for a new classroom SmartBoard.

I encourage students to develop strong work habits. To facilitate this I give them the
class assignment schedule in advance and post it online. Extra copies of class handouts
and activities are also posted online. With these secondary communication systems in
place, I can hold students responsible for their work. Students realize that it is easier to
do the work than to give excuses.

IB Chemistry & AP Chemistry
In the A.P. Chemistry and I.B Chemistry (HL) classes, my goal is to promote college
level work habits while recognizing that high school students still need additional
support. So I give the students more flexibility, such as optional assignments. This way
they can transition into being independent. Then, if they slip behind, I give them the
support they need to get back on track.

Both A.P. and I.B. courses have curricular outlines, defined by the College Board and
International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), but class plans are designed by
individual schools. When I came to Washington-Lee, neither of these courses were
offered, so I designed the curricula for both of them for the school.

Intensified Chemistry
For the Intensified Chemistry students, who are predominately sophomores, I have
taken the traditional chemistry experiments and rewritten them. They are no longer
“fill-in-the-blank” or “cookbook labs”. Instead the students do the experiment then use
the data to develop higher order thinking. I aim to improve the students’ critical
thinking skills, to teach them how to critically analyze data, how to write a coherent,
analytical conclusion, or how to perform error analysis through identifying their
assumptions. In this way I scaffold the learning opportunities so that students become
experts in each step of the experimental process.

The key to creating a stimulating learning environment is to ask good questions, so I
start off each class with a few good questions. I walk around the desks to get a snapshot
of how well the students know the answers. If I see that the students have mastered the
material, then I treat it as a “warm up” exercise and move forward. More often, students
struggle to answer the questions. When this happens, the students recognize the limits
of their understanding, and become eager to learn more. Either way the questioning
taps into the students’ natural curiosity, lowers their resistance to work, and opens their
minds to learning.

I aim to create a classroom environment where it is safe for students to make
intellectual leaps, where they are comfortable thinking creatively. I do this by staying
positive with the students and treating them respectfully. I group them together to do
activities and labs and rotate the groups so that the students become comfortable
thinking out loud and using their reasoning skills together.

Learning occurs at different levels: recognition, recall and understanding. Often
students are comfortable learning information at the “recognition” level. To get them to
take the knowledge to a higher level, I ask them to write about it. To compose a written
explanation or answer, students must think about it until it makes sense. That’s why
writing is an important component of learning in my classroom.

Principles of Chemistry
Formerly. Arlington Public Schools offered a course in Chemistry for those students who
had weak math skills, but who wanted to learn the chemical concepts. With a few other
teachers, I designed a laboratory-based survey course in chemistry for these students.
The course, called “Principles of Chemistry” was abandoned when state mandated
testing was implemented.

Awards:
Leo Schubert Award for Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching, Chemical
Society of Washington, December 2005
Academic Award, George Mason University, Summer 2003
Teacher Tribute, Stanford University, Fall 2003
Appreciation, Marymount University, May 2002
American Statistical Association, 2000
Governor’s School Outstanding Educator, 1999

Publications:
Chemistry Trivia or Lifelong Learning: Promoting Higher Order Thinking in the High
School Chemistry Classroom, Working Papers, Volume III, Arlington Public Schools.
2001
The Effect of Requesting Systematic Feedback on Students, Teachers and the
Classroom Environment, Working Papers, Volume IV, Arlington Public Schools 2003.
Presentations:
“Overcoming Procrastination”, Teacher Research Symposium, Arlington, Virginia, May
2007.

“Voices Within Educational Contexts: Implications for Educational Reform and Teacher
Practice” Symposium, American Educational Studies Association International
Conference, Mexico City, November 1, 2003

“How does the Systematic Request for Student Feedback Impact Students, Teachers and
the Classroom Environment at the Secondary Level?” with Gladys Sossa-Schwartz,
George Mason University Initiatives in Educational Transformation Research
Conference, Fairfax, Virginia, July 7, 2003. Also presented for Arlington Secondary
Science Teachers Staff Development, Spring 2004.

“Listening for Excellence” George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, March 2003

“Thinking about Thinking: Promoting Higher Order Thinking in the Chemistry
Classroom” Third Annual Teacher to Teacher Research Convocation, Arlington Public
Schools, March 2003

Selected Professional Committees:
Washington-Lee Integrity Committee, 2007-2008
Science Fair Development Committee (Arlington County) 2005.
Laboratory Safety and Chemical Storage, 2005
Curriculum Development: Intensified Chemistry, 2002/2003
Curriculum Development: A.P. and I.B. Chemistry, 2002/2003
Textbook Adoption Committees, 2007-2008, 2001-2002, 1995-1996, 1987-1988
SAC’s Accreditation Committee, Washington-Lee, 2000/2001
SOL Preparation Committee for Chemistry, 1998
Curriculum Development, Intensified Chemistry, 1996
Curriculum Development, A.P. Chemistry, 1996
Curriculum Development, Principles of Chemistry, 1996
Middle School Transition Committee at H-B Woodlawn, 1990
Curriculum Development Committee for new Science Initiatives Program, 1988

Selected School Service Since 2000:
Washington-Lee Symposium Organizing Committee, 2006
Chemical Safety Coordinator, 2005 to present
Cooperating Teacher for Student Intern from Marymount University, 2005
Cooperating Teacher for Student Intern from George Washington University, 2005
Blackboard Survey presentation for Washington-Lee Teachers, 2004
Coordinator of Teacher Book Club, 2004-2005
Teachers Interest Group for NSTA Partnership with APS, 2004
Contact Teacher for teachers interested in student feedback, 2003
Subcommittee Coordinator for S.A.C. School Accreditation process, 2000-2001
Professional Development Since 2000:
2005/2006
Electronic Blackboard Training/ Curriculum Development, July 25-29
I.B. Group 4 Networking Session, Bethesda Maryland, October 27th
Electronic SmartBoard Training Seminar, November 2nd
I.B. Chemistry Training, St. Petersburg, FL, December 1-4
2004/2005
Electronic Blackboard Training/Curriculum Development, July 26-30
Child Abuse Recognition and Response Training, August 30th
Freshmen Connection Training, August 29th
2003/2004
American Educational Studies Assoc. International Conference, Mexico City, October
29-Nov 2nd
Electronic Blackboard Training/Curriculum Development, July 24-28
2001-2003
M.A., New Professional Studies: Teaching
      MNPE 700 The New Professionalism: Theory and Practice
      MNPE 702 The New Professional as Reflective Practitioner
      MNPE 703 Technology and Learning in the New Professions
      MNPE 704 Research Methodologies in the New Professionalism
      EDUC 597 Apprenticeship in Classroom Research
      IETT 750 Studies in Language and Culture I
      IETT 751 Studies in Language and Culture II
      IETT 752 Research in Practice: The Team Project
       IETT 753 Teaching and Learning
Teacher to Teacher Research Conference, March 13, 2003
2000-2001
Technology Symposium, June 2000
Logal Training Workshop, Spring 2001
Vernier Probeware Training

				
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