Justen's Story.


I graduated from the university of New Hampshire in 2005, with a degree in English Teaching. I spent my subsequent years thoroughly enjoying World of Warcraft, where I squandered three years of my early to mid 20’s. I moved to California out of boredom where I applied to be a substitute teacher. I met my wife there and eventually we moved back to New Hampshire and had a child, Atticus.
Once my son was born, A fire was lit in me. I got a job working for Making Community Connections Charter school in Manchester. Because I hadn’t applied my degree as of this time, I felt out of practice. MC2 did wonders for me because they were able to mold me into a free thinking and very creative teacher, rather than one jaded by the public school system.
I really appreciate the pedagogy I am learning here at my school. Our school is competency based, not based on time in the seat. Essentially what this means is that students need to demonstrate proficiency through evidence of their understanding rather then just be present in the chair while the instructor is teaching. Because of this, students become the “driver” of their own individualized learning plans. I truly believe in a competency based education system. Competency based learning’s ultimate goal is mastery; a consistent successful application of a set of skills, knowledge, and behaviors to complex problems and novel solutions. Competency based learning aligns with our schools power standards; Endurance, Leverage, and Readiness.
We employ cutting edge strategies from the pedagogical world such as: Think kids (strategies to employ with student behavior), SMARTS curriculum ( a look at neurodevelopment constructs), Thoughtful classroom (for managing a classroom, from behavior to lesson planning), U.B.D. or Understanding By Design (a strategy to employ around planning lessons and structuring the classroom,) 4MAT (an understanding that people learn in different ways and strategies to help different learners learn best for them.) Because we have resources available and the training on how to employ these resources, our school model is much different than any traditional school or other charter school out there.
Working as a high school English Teacher for the last two years at my school has been the best work experience of my life. I truly appreciate my job. It is challenging at times but the students really need my help and I feel rewarded for helping them. No other job has ever felt so rewarding to me. I have helped an autistic student with speech impediments over come his shyness and present publicly in his exhibitions, with great success. I have helped many students develop their own interests into meaningful projects where the student earns credit for exploring those interests, all the while never loosing engagement. It has been a pleasure working for Making Community Connections Charter School, I know my life has been affected in many positive ways, as well as the lives of many students I have had the pleasure of working with.