April 4, 2016
Every month in our UCCI newsletter, we feature one of the extraordinary educators we have worked with at the UCCI Institutes and in the UCCI Teacher Exchange. We started this feature so that we could have a way of publicly showcasing how creative, innovative, and smart California teachers are. We archive every issue of the Teacher Spotlight here, on the UCCI website, at our Teacher Spotlight page.
This month the spotlight is on Anya Gurholt, College & Career Pathway Coach, Skyline High, Linked Learning Office, Oakland Unified School District
In your own words: What do you do, and why?
As a Pathway Coach for the Oakland Unified School District, I support school sites and pathway teams to deliver rigorous, integrated curriculum and equitable systems for Linked Learning pathways so that all Oakland students can graduate college, and be career and community ready.
Prior to your current role, how long were you a teacher, and how did you decide to become a teacher?
I was a teacher in the Oakland Unified School District from 2005-2014. I decided to become a teacher while studying sociology as a community college student and working as a case manager for pregnant and parenting teens. As a case manager, I taught classes on topics such as child development, healthy relationships, body image and safer sex. I loved teaching these classes and enjoyed working with adolescents, so I decided to become a high school teacher.
Please tell us about your background in Public Services and as a social worker, and how you apply your experience in your current role as an Instructional Coach.
I worked at the YWCA Shelter for Pregnant and Parenting Teens throughout college. In that role, I supported young women’s educational plans, parenting goals and overall life ambitions. In my role as a case manager, I developed several transferable skills that I use in my current role as a pathway coach. For example, as a pathway coach, I support pathways’ continuous improvement goals and individualized student support plans.
You have participated twice at a UCCI Institute - in 2010, you were on a course development team whose course was not approved and in 2012, you were on the team that created the Literacy, Advocacy and Public Service course which was approved. What was the learning curve like for you in terms of collaborating to develop this course? Please talk about what made each experience different, and what you think contributed to the Literacy, Advocacy and Public Service course getting finished and approved.
In 2010, I participated in my first UCCI Institute, wherein we developed a course that integrated the principles of American Democracy and Economics with CTE Education standards. Unfortunately, this course did not receive A-G approval. In 2012, I participated in a second UCCI Institute, wherein we developed a course that integrated English Language Arts with CTE Public Service standards. This seconds course received A-G approval and I attribute that to a few factors, including a very strong team of educators from a wide range of backgrounds. The Literacy, Advocacy and Public Service team did a great job of creating a course that seamlessly integrated the CTE content as well as the ELA content. In addition, the Literacy, Advocacy and Public Service course has a unifying theme of social change via individual and collective action. Finally, the Literacy, Advocacy and Public Service course has several challenging projects wherein students are asked to address real issues in their communities, adding more relevance to the work of the course.
Prior to your UCCI Institute participation, had you done any integration of CTE and academics?
Yes, as the pathway lead teacher for Skyline’s Education & Community Health pathway, I worked closely with a team of teachers to design project-based, integrated curriculum and projects. In addition, because I taught an 11th grade CTE Education Psychology course and an 11th grade U.S. History course, I found ways to integrate these two subjects as well.
What are your top three resources (online or otherwise) that you share with teachers you are coaching?
1. Most importantly, we must always return to our own inner resources of mindfulness, tenacity and authenticity.
2. I frequently recommend the College and Career Academy Support Network’s curriculum database. This website was a lifesaver for me during my first years as a pathway lead teacher. It is full of searchable curriculum resources, which have been specifically curated for Career Academies, Linked Learning and other college and career pathways.
3. CTE Online is another excellent resource for career technical education teachers. This website is also chock-full of ready-to-use curriculum, projects and lesson plans. It’s a great entry point for teachers who might be new to career academies or for experienced CTE teachers who want fresh ideas.
We’d love to hear about any non-academic interests/experiences/hobbies you have, or perhaps related to academics but not necessarily to your current role.
I am very interested in understanding and promoting students’ social and emotional health. I regularly read about social-emotional learning in schools, and have participated in trainings by Mindful Schools and the Niroga Institute. When I am not working, I love doing yoga, hiking with my dogs and experimenting with new recipes.