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Robert Thirsk High School

8777 Nose Hill Drive NW, Calgary, AB T3G 5T3

t | 403-817-3400 f | 403-247-5223 | RobertThirskHigh@cbe.ab.ca

March 9th, 2015

To whom it may concern,
It is my great pleasure to offer a letter of support for Mary Quiring. I am currently Marys mentor
teacher during her University of Lethbridge Professional Semester III (PSIII) 16-week teaching
internship from February 2nd to May 29th, 2015 at Robert Thirsk High School (RTHS). She is
responsible for all of the planning, teaching, and assessment of two Biology 20 classes. She also
works with individuals and small groups to support student learning during Focus, our flex block.
RTHSs work with the High School Redesign initiative revolves around task design, developing
competencies and outcome-based assessment. Marys teaching skills are an asset to both students
and staff as she is actively incorporating the High School Redesign elements into her daily practice.
Marys Biology 20 content knowledge is excellent. The work she provides is challenging for those
who are ready for enrichment and she is also able to break down larger tasks into manageable
sections to encourage struggling students. She focuses specifically on developing the Collaboration,
Solving Problems, Managing Information, and Critical Thinking competencies during laboratory
activities, projects and field trips. Her classroom management strategies allow for continual
assessment for understanding of outcomes, while she supports individual student needs using IRIS
and student cumulative files. Mary provides students with the opportunity to reassess outcomes if
necessary. She communicates with parents in various ways, including task mark updates on Home
Logic, phone calls and email home (re. behaviour, attendances, task completion), news and
calendar items on D2L, parent/teacher/student conferences, etc. I am confident that her teaching
skills will continue to develop during the remainder of her PSIII at our school.
Marys patient, yet confident demeanour draws students out of their shells and allows them to thrive
because they feel safe, understood, and supported in exploring their natural curiosity. She develops
meaningful relationships through genuine conversations with all of her students and is able to
leverage these positive relationships to effect change in some of our "at-promise" learners. She
calmly dealt with a frightening situation in her first week at RTHS when we had to call an ambulance
for a student who lost consciousness in her class. Mary advocates for all of her students and their
learning, but holds them accountable when learning expectations are not met. Marys contribution to
our school culture (i.e., grad committee), her passion, and hard work has made everyones
participation rewarding and enjoyable.
In the time I have known Mary, I have found her to be a mature, responsible and very capable
teacher. She is a self-motivated, enthusiastic and reflective teacher who is dedicated and strives to
make her class a great place to learn and grow. I highly recommend Mary for a teaching position
with the Calgary Board of Education.
Heidi Brandstadt
Science Teacher
Community Learning Leader