The past two years Krystal (Randazzo) England has made a huge impact on the RHS STEM program. She teaches Honors Geometry and Freshman Algebra 1; both of which are competency based courses. She started teaching 5 years ago, starting her career at the middle school level.
England attended Illinois Wesleyan and graduated in 2015 with a double major in Math and Secondary Education with an endorsement to teach middle school education. She had known since 4th grade that she wanted to teach. Originally, she wanted to teach at the primary level, but her passion for math led her to secondary education.
Q. What’s your favorite part about teaching?
My favorite part is the interactions with students. Even if im in a bad mood, they can always lift me up because they are quirky, especially the freshman. I enjoy having interactions and building relationships with students. I’m also the dance coach here, so developing those relationships out of the classroom is nice too.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about RHS?
The way we are able to differentiate with the math program, by allowing students to work at their own pace. At my last school, it was a huge problem because students wouldn’t be on the same page. Some would work ahead or fall behind. At Ridgewood, they can work at their own pace, because it is all online. Even though it’s online, having that teacher support is super necessary. But working at their own pace is nice.
Q. What’s the hardest part of your job?
The best part and hardest part is having everyone at different points. In one classroom, there could be fifteen different lessons going on. I still want to make sure the students understand the conceptual understanding, not just procedural. That’s the hardest part for me; making sure they still get the conceptual part without me instructing their learning as much.
Q. What’s your favorite memory while coaching and teaching?
Coaching: It’s not a favorite memory, but seeing the girls come together and work together to reach a common goal. We didn’t have a winning season last year, but they were committed to growing together as a team.
Teaching: Last year, I had a student who was off task, unmotivated and behind on their lessons. Then they ended up finishing the year early, doing honors level lessons.
Q. Explain the competency math program and what that looks like for you as a teacher.
Competency math is more self paced with mini lessons, rather than whole group lessons. All the planning is already done and is in the system. It’s more on analyzing data and grouping students and using that data to drive instruction. It’s a shift in thinking. For competency we do more performance tests, rather than straight tests. So more word problems and projects, which is nice to see kids do those extra things.
Q. Explain the “flextime” schedule for freshman.
We’ve flexed a couple times this year and it worked really well for my math classroom. In one of my classes, I have kids in fifteen different units so I was able to drive those groups into one class and have them flexibly decide which period they needed to go to. For example, if they are in the inequalities unit they go to 4th period math. If they are in equations, they go to 3rd period, etc. So, I was able to teach lessons to a full group of students, which was nice. Then in the intervention group, I was able to work with kids 1-on-1. I did two periods where I taught a specific lesson, one where it was individual module work time (which was co-taught) and then one intervention.