English teacher Anna Capobianco leads her students at West Hartford’s Hall High School to ever-greater heights. When the College Board introduced its new AP Seminar course, Capobianco eagerly volunteered to pioneer it at Hall, helping the organization refine the curriculum and reading AP exams at the end of the year. Nearly all of Capobianco’s AP Seminar students passed the new course’s exam, with five of the 16 earning 5’s, the highest score. In addition to AP classes, Capobianco also team-teaches an English class with a reading interventionist; last year, the entire class reached grade-level performance by the end of school. Hall students turn to Capobianco for support beyond the classroom; she stays in touch with many students as they move on to college, and Hall graduates often cite her influence as foundational to their success.
Capobianco connects with her students through humor, a welcoming tone, and an energetic approach that engages all learning styles. She stresses problem-solving and critical analysis, helps students set rigorous and attainable learning goals, and encourages them to stretch intellectually through programs like Nonfiction Fridays, in which students lead class discussions about articles and books tied to the week’s theme. Nonfiction Fridays have been so successful that all 14 English teachers at Hall now use the program in their classrooms.
Capobianco is well-versed in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), ensuring that her lessons are accessible to all students and adjusting her instruction based on embedded formative assessments. She piloted professional development for UDL and offers help both formally and informally to colleagues across the district. Capobianco also developed lessons and led teacher training for Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Google Classroom. She serves on Hall’s English Language Arts (ELA) team, the district’s curriculum council, and the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Learn Zillion “Teacher Dream Team.” As one of the developers of Hall’s advisory program, Capobianco mentors student teachers, serves on interview committees, and guest lectures in the Alternative Route to Certifications program for the state’s Office of Higher Education. This year she began teaching an ELA Methods course through the Connecticut State Department of Higher Education’s Alternate Route for Certification teacher preparation program.
Capobianco earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 2006 and a master’s in English Education in 2007 from the University of Connecticut, plus a master’s in teacher leadership in 2011 from Walden University.
"A good teacher has the power to save lives, change the world, and move mountains. How could I not end up in education?" — From..." (read more)