Many thanks to the following people for offering their thoughts after one of my workshops or a conference session.
Susan Levine-Kelley, Chair, English/ELL/Broadcasting Department, Glenbrook South High School/District 225/Township District 225, Illinois
Our Township articulation included Language Arts/English and Social Studies teachers from 6th to 12th grade for Jim’s presentation in the morning and a workshop for 8th- and 9th-grade teachers in the afternoon. We had very specific goals for the day with a focus on CCSS argumentative writing and thinking and wanted our teachers to come to the day with some common foundation. We challenged Jim to facilitate a day that would both inspire and inform. From the feedback we received, the day exceeded expectations, and our expectations were high! He wove the concepts of generative/creative thinking and creating an argumentative thinking culture in the classroom, which of course, brought in the Common Core. Teachers were especially excited that they could use ideas, handouts and strategies that Jim provided the next day in their classrooms. They still are using ideas and handouts that Jim provided. The work we did that day provided the energy and knowledge base for the continued professional learning work we are doing. Jim was a kindred spirit for our teachers. His hands-on approach; his warmth; humor; and his real-world, classroom anecdotes made this a day that will have long-lasting effects for everyone involved. His work with us was the perfect blend of inspiration and practicality.
Matthew Ferguson, K-12 ELA Coordinator, Darlington County School District, South Carolina
Mr. Burke offered two days of professional development to our district’s 9-12 English teachers. Our teachers were delighted to have someone speak specifically to the concerns of the high school English classroom and to offer strategies/resources that they could take back to their classrooms immediately. After the first session, it was amazing how the strategies presented during the workshop showed up in the classroom observations of so many teachers. The continuity of second day of professional allowed the teachers to bring back questions and concerns after attempting to implement the strategies. Often teachers learn something at a workshop, attempt to implement, encounter a problem and become frustrated. Here, however, the teachers were allowed to ask the expert follow-up questions; thereby they gained a deeper understanding of the process and were able to translate it into long-term practice.
Thank you, Mr. Burke!
Ulrich H. Hardt, Conference Chair, Oregon Council of Teachers of English
In our publicity for the NW Regional NCTE Conference in Portland in March 2014 we referred to Jim Burke as “Rock of our English teaching profession … the gold standard,” and he lived up to our promise. Again and again in the conference evaluations teachers commented on his valuable contributions:
“Jim Burke defines what good teaching is and what we should all aspire to.”
“What I learned from Jim Burke I will use again and again.”
Gina Peddy, K-12 Advanced Academics Coordinator and Secondary ELA and Social Studies Coordinator, Carroll ISD, Texas
Jim Burke brings the same passion he has for teaching his students to the workshop he presents for teachers. His workshop provided our staff with a plethora of practical and proven methods for teaching the writing process to students. The specific examples he provided to teachers help bring the concepts and techniques to life. Many of our staff members left the workshop commenting on the numerous “a-ha” moments they had experienced. Jim Burke has helped our staff bring clarity to the writing process and the thinking process that must occur in order for students to produce a quality piece of work. Thank you, Jim, for making a difference in the lives of our students and our staff.
Corey Brown, K- 12 Literacy Specialist, Fremont Unified School District, California
Fremont was able to partner with Jim Burke for 6 sessions. This extended partnership allowed him to understand our needs specifically and tailor his presentations to meed those needs. All of the feedback that we received was off the charts positive. Jim worked with our teachers on Academic Literacy, Reading to Write, and the mental moves needed for career and college readiness. The ability to share and show real life applications of his strategies, templates, and learning activities with humor grounded in the reality of the day to day school life of teachers was very much appreciated. Mr. Burke was masterful at inviting teachers from all curricular backgrounds and grade levels to participate in understanding and teaching literacy in a non-threatening way. “It didn’t feel like The Common Core was being forced upon us or sold to us.” If you want teachers to walk away inspired, eager and excited to raise rigor and critical thinking through literacy–Jim Burke is the man you want.