Corps Member Spotlight: Samantha Solomon
April 9, 2018
Each of our 2nd year corps members participate in one of four Leadership Learning Communities (LLC’s) designed to advance their leadership through specific and nuanced programming and development. Samantha Solomon, who teaches K-6 Special Education at Global Leadership Academy Charter School, participates in the “Good to Great: Going from Basic to Boss in Your 2nd Year” LLC. Members of this group were challenged to create a Passion Project that not only advance their own teaching skills, but that also positively impacted the community around them.
Read more about Samantha's Passion Project below!
Corps Year: 2016
Placement School: Global Leadership Academy Charter School
Subject/Grade(s): K-6 Special Education
Hometown: Grass Valley, California
Tell us about your Passion Project on Autism.
I was handed the role of k-4 autism support in addition to my 5-6 grade caseload this year. Although I did work with individuals on the spectrum back in Santa Barbara at the Koegel Autism Center, I had never done so in a school setting. I teach social skills to all of the kindergarten through fourth grade scholars, and quickly realized how difficult it is to create research-based lessons for this type of subject.
My Passion Project through TFA is the development of video modeling clips for a variety of different social skills that will be available to the public on YouTube under the name of Simply Social Moments. Teachers around the world will be able to watch video clips that demonstrate different social skills and follow my directions in the description of each video to lead their students through practice activities. The channel is still in the beginning stages, but is expected to be ready for classrooms by August of 2018.
How has TFA-Philly supported you in your role?
TFA has supported my creation of this project by encouraging me to use my skills and knowledge to create a tool that can be used worldwide. I put a lot of effort into studying how to teach social skills. TFA not only praised and encouraged my efforts, but they helped me realize that I can impact students outside of my own classroom with my newly acquired knowledge. Additionally, TFA-Philly awarded me the Passion Project Grant to help fund the costs of starting the channel and the opportunity to present my project to alumni and current corps members at Grow in Greater Philly.
“My scholars and I work to acknowledge what they already know and what they are working towards, and then consistently monitor progress. Any form of growth is a win, no matter how small or large the increase is.”
How do you define success in your classroom?
Success in my classroom is all about growth. I always stress to my scholars that progress is everything. Data charts on the wall are multi-baseline growth charts, so my kids can push one another to do better than they did yesterday, even if they are working at a completely different grade level. My scholars and I work to acknowledge what they already know and what they are working towards, and then consistently monitor progress. We praise all growth milestones. Any form of growth is a win, no matter how small or large the increase is.