Jennifer Dines, NBCT

Jennifer Dines is the Director of English Language Learners at the Lilla G. Frederick Middle School, a Pilot School in the Boston Public Schools. Jennifer is a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of English as a New Language. She is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Lesley University, Northeastern University, and the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. In addition to blogging for The Standard, Jennifer currently maintains her personal blog as well as a newer collaborative blog focused on writing across the curriculum: Follow her on twitter @literacychange.
Connecting with other NBCTs provides the support that Teacher Leaders Need
Jennifer Dines, NBCTSeptember 4, 2019

Like many National Board Certified Teachers, I am proud to say that I serve in multiple teacher leadership roles in my school and within our district. My most demanding responsibility is serving as the leader of our school’s brand new Literacy Committee. Our school-wide instructional goal for the 2018-19 school year was to increase the number of grade-level readers in our building. And we did – increasing from 2.7% of students reading at grade level to 21.3%. This accomplishment took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears; our team was allotted 25 paid hours throughout the year to analyze data,…

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The Power of Community and Storytelling
Jennifer Dines, NBCTMay 16, 2018

I believe in the power of community to provide support during a time of need. I realized the potential of storytelling within a community on a recent Saturday. I was feeling incredibly low from a challenging week at work – two former students at my school were murdered – one a 17-year-old at a party and another gunned down in broad daylight outside of the Burger King near my school. On the day of the murder at Burger King, I taught with helicopters flying outside the window and my students and I in lock down mode. At a meeting after…

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Addressing the Needs of Students with Limited and Interrupted Formal Education
Jennifer Dines, NBCTFebruary 26, 2018

This year, I’m in a new position as the Director of English Language Learners for my school. Part of this role involves leading a team of teachers who serve students with limited and interrupted formal education. These students are newcomers to the United States, coming from places where schooling was either inaccessible or non-compulsory, and therefore they’ve had little exposure to academic language and literacy in their native languages. In educational terms, these students are referred to as Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE). Our program organizes SLIFE education into two groups – Spanish and multilingual. A majority…

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Guiding Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families through the IEP Process
Jennifer Dines, NBCTDecember 2, 2016

The Special Education evaluation process can be a labyrinthian course fraught with confusion and misinformation. However, it also has the potential to be a rich source of information and a time for deep planning around the needs of a particular student. For teachers of students who come from culturally and linguistically diverse families, it is essential to deeply consider how we are ensuring understanding of this complex process at each step of the Special Education journey. I worry about the effects of poorly-facilitated special education processes on children and their families, given the importance of ensuring that families of all…

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A Call for Peace-Based Teacher Leadership
Jennifer Dines, NBCTJuly 14, 2016

The violent events of early July weigh heavily on my heart and mind. It seems that America is a pressure cooker that has exploded with hatred and brutality. I have read my friends’ sentiments on Facebook, but I haven’t been emotionally ready to even have a face-to-face conversation with them about all that is happening. As an educator and a parent, it’s difficult to believe that this is the world in which my students and children are growing up. However, I recently came across an artifact of inspiration while reading the community bulletin board at the Grove Hall Library, located…

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The Reasons Why I Blog
Jennifer Dines, NBCTMay 27, 2016

At this year’s Teaching & Learning Conference, I stepped out of my comfort zone as a journalist and twitter-holic and into the role of a presenter. I was honored to be a part of the “Writing Our Future: Blogging for Educational Change and Personal Growth” panel, along with widely-read bloggers José Vilson, Renee Moore, and David Cohen as well as my fellow The Standard bloggers Ambereen Khan-Baker and Luann Lee. However, this was my first time speaking publicly about my blogging life, and I had to ask myself the question: Why do I blog? I knew it had to do…

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A Gift for Teacher Appreciation Week in the Form of Two Questions
Jennifer Dines, NBCTMay 2, 2016

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week! In 1985, the National Parent-Teacher Association declared the first week of May as a time to appreciate the work of educators throughout the United States. Since then, Teacher Appreciation week has become an annual tradition in American life. I myself have enjoyed basking in the love that my colleagues and I receive during this week of celebration. Last year, I received homemade chocolate-covered strawberries and a beautiful plant (delivered to my office by two caring parents with wonderful smiles) from the Gardner Pilot Academy Home-School Association. I also attended the Boston Foundation’s annual Teacher Appreciation Week…

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Reflecting on Teacher Leadership Through a Lens of Stewardship
Jennifer Dines, NBCTMarch 30, 2016

As a National Board Certified Teacher, I recognize that accomplished teaching practice begins with knowing my students. The National Board’s Architecture of Accomplished Teaching provides guiding questions around knowing our students’ identities:    Who are they?  Where are they now?  What instruction/support do they need and in what order do they need it?  Where should I begin?   At the 2016 Teaching & Learning Conference, Benjie Howard and Wade Colwell-Sandoval of New Wilderness Project demonstrated exemplary practice in building from a foundation of identity in their session, “Connecting Deeply Across Difference – Engaging Youth as Equity Stewards.” Although the focus of…

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From Isolation to Collaboration via National Board Certification
Jennifer Dines, NBCTAugust 27, 2015

Editor’s Note:  Jennifer Dines, NBCT, is the Special Education and Student Services Coordinator at the Gardner Pilot Academy K-8 School, a Pilot School in the Boston Public Schools. The views expressed in this blog are her own.   Becoming an NBCT has enabled me to articulate my thinking about our profession, with the confidence and credentials to be an outspoken advocate for our students and their needs. The National Board assessment process served as a catalyst to my transformation from teacher to teacher leader. Although I showed strengths in many areas on my National Board assessment, the scores I received on…

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Developing Specialized Knowledge by Pushing Myself as a Reader
Jennifer Dines, NBCTJuly 24, 2015

Last year, while mentoring a second-year middle school English teacher, I complimented her knowledge of books for young adults. I was impressed by the expertise she demonstrated when making personal book recommendations to each of her seventh graders, helping them develop into successful independent readers. I asked her how she knew about all the different titles. “Well, I read them,” she replied. “You really read all of those YA books?” I asked in awe. “I feel like it’s my job,” she said. And she was absolutely right. In every version of the National Board standards, for each certification area, there…

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