As part of the Bring Your Legislator To School Day initiative in New York, Michelle Helmer hosted Senator Catharine Young at Silver Creek Central School in Western NY on December 18, 2015. During the visit Young met with school leaders to discuss the district's journey to improve standards and instruction, and then she visited Ann Kempster's 7th grade ELA class.

In the classroom, Young was able to see students engaged in learning through a text-based discussion protocol. After the lesson, Senator Young had time to debrief the lesson with the teacher. Mrs. Kempster articulated the challenges she has faced in making changes to her instruction over the last few years and how she is now seeing the results of that hard work in what her students are able to accomplish. "The students are more independent," said Kempster. "They contribute more, are more motivated, have more confidence. There is more community spirit in the classroom. My students this year have a totally different skill set from my students three years ago. I see them growing and I see how they can use these skills in the work force."

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When we asked Michelle what she loved about Bring Your Legislator To School Day, here's what she said: "It was a celebration of the work we have done to support teachers and leaders over the last four years. Ann was able to express the real challenges she has faced but that it has been worth it. She confirmed that we must continued forward."

Senator Catharine Young said, “It was a fantastic day at Silver Creek Elementary School, observing Ms. Kempster’s 7th English Language Arts class as part of ‘Take Your Legislator To School Day.’ The students were very engaged and did a great job going over their lesson plans and coming up with solutions to the questions that were posed to them.”

“Having high quality learning opportunities set our children on a course for long-term success and economic prosperity. My goal is to ensure that our children and classrooms have the best educational services available. Michelle Helmer, Director of Curriculum, and Melodee Leone, Literacy Coach, also provided me with great information about how the district is using shared services to maximize learning opportunities for students. Our discussion was tremendously insightful and I want to thank them for inviting me to visit the school,” said Senator Young.

The senator commented many times how nice it was to hear and see this positive work happening in her region. The educators hope that her visit to Silver Creek informs her work moving forward.

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