Academic growth has blossomed at Colfax Charter Elementary School in North Hollywood, California, thanks to literacy coach and coordinator Dana Stephens. Among her most notable legacies at Colfax is an educational garden she created, in which students and teachers grow flowers and vegetables, conduct science experiments and measure plant growth. Before becoming literacy coach four years ago, Stephens taught bilingual Spanish at Colfax for 14 years, working primarily with English Language Learners (ELLs) and their families. During this time, she presented exciting, interactive, research-based lessons; maintained excellent classroom control; and engaged students in extensive writing and journaling projects—strategies she now helps other teachers pursue at Colfax. She was instrumental in the schoolwide implementation of activities involving reading fluency and thinking maps. Now dividing her time between being a literacy coach and a literacy coordinator, Stephens is leading the development of the school's "green" curriculum, making the gardening program an authentic activity to help ELLs develop language skills. She is also expanding technology and arts instruction at Colfax. Stephens created Writer's Club, a before-school elective that has motivated students to publish creative stories. She provides students with leadership and community outreach opportunities through the student council and shows parents how to help their children learn at parent workshops and a Family Reading Night. Her instructional guidance and support have helped Colfax achieve excellent academic growth according to the Academic Performance Index (API).
2004 Masters Degree in Administration
1989 University of California - Santa Barbara, B.A.