Teacher Spotlight: Graduation Recovery Teacher Mrs. Katie Devlin

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 2/24/20 7:00 AM


Mrs. Katie Devlin has been teaching since 2013. Before PA Distance, she started as a long-term substitute at Fox Chapel Area High School and later as an emotional support teacher at Charleroi Area Elementary School.

She graduated with a Bachelor's in History/Archaeology from Calvin College and pursued a MAT in teaching from Waynesburg University. She is Pennsylvania certified in Social Studies 7-12 and Special Education N-12.

She didn't always want to be a teacher, though. "I originally wanted to be an archeologist but went on a dig and hated it," she said.

However, Mrs. Devlin found that teaching was a clear path for her after having several opportunities to work with kids. "I did a lot of youth ministry activities and counseled for some summer camps," she explained, "After that, I knew I was interested in teaching and working with children."

Mrs. Devlin started at PA Distance as a social studies teacher for 7th graders. Now in her 6th year at PA Distance, she is the Graduation Recovery teacher for 9-12th graders after switching positions at the beginning of the school year.

Graduation Recovery is for students who have fallen behind in their classes and, in some cases, delayed them from advancing into the next grade. That's where PA Distance Graduation Recovery teachers come in. Mrs. Devlin works with students to help them get back to where they should be academically. The goal for Graduation Recovery is to get students back into their regular classes and to ultimately graduate by using Live Learning, Google Hangouts, and the web-based education program, PLATO.

"I walk alongside them instead of walking ahead of them," she explained. "I get to know them, understand them, and advocate for them."

To do this, Mrs. Devlin works one-on-one with each student and coaches them when working on assignments. Graduation Recovery is more about teaching students organizational skills and time management so that they can complete assignments as they should. If they need help with the actual content, Mrs. Devlin will work through it with them.

"With grad recovery, we really place the ball in their court," Mrs. Devlin explained. "I help them create a plan for attack moving forward so that they can learn how to manage their work and get ahead."

"A lot of my students have made great progress this year," she said.

In addition to her work in Graduation Recovery, Mrs. Devlin has been helping to run Student Leadership since it started four years ago. Alongside School Counselor, Mrs. Katie Griffith, and 7-12th-grade Social Studies Teacher, Graduation Recovery Teacher, and ESL Coordinator, Mrs. Nicole Al-Amoudii, Mrs. Devlin facilitates student's ideas for improving life at PA Distance. 

She is also a staff sponsor for the Stress-Free Students Club, along with Business Technology Teacher, Ms. Susannah Azzaro, that meets bi-weekly on Thursdays. Ms. Azzaro teaches the mindfulness portion, and Mrs. Devlin teaches the yoga portion of the club.

The club offers an outlet for students to de-stress and learn mindfulness techniques they can practice at home, too. "How are you going to be successful in your schoolwork if you are stressed all the time or in a bad place mentally?" she explained.

"Our students are so special. These kids have all come to us from such unique places with backgrounds, and it's great to be a part of that," she explained.

To learn more about PA Distance and read about our teachers, staff, and students, read more on our blog!

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