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Seipold: From East Haven Student to Teacher

Published 05/15/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 05/14/2013 02:44 PM

By Marji McClure
East Haven Courier

Kaitlynn Seipold enjoyed being a student in the East Haven Public Schools-she was even inspired by her teachers to become one.

There's a good chance that history might repeat itself, with Kaitlynn serving as the inspiration to her own students today.

The former East Haven student is an East Haven 8th-grade language arts teacher at Joseph Melillo Middle School and enjoys it as much as she did when she was a student.

Kaitlynn graduated from East Haven High School in 2005. Reading had always been a favorite subject, so she decided to pursue an English degree when she enrolled at Eastern Connecticut State University. There, she was encouraged to pursue a career in teaching. She graduated in 2009 and began teaching at Melillo in November 2010.

It's exactly what Kaitlynn was looking for.

"I did student teaching in a middle school and it was so much fun," she says. "It didn't seem like a job to me."

When she started teaching at Melillo, Kaitlynn found that some of her new colleagues were her former teachers. She says it was difficult, at first, to call them by their first names, but they made her feel more comfortable as she began her new job.

"They were helpful," Kaitlynn says. "It was like having a support system built in."

Kaitlynn says she focuses a lot on project-based learning in the classroom. Her students recently finished an Earth Day unit that included activities like planting flowers at Ferrara School and creating a public service announcement. The students also use iPads often, which means "they are responsible for their own learning" at those times, with a main goal to help prepare students for high school, says Kaitlynn.

For a few years, Kaitlynn was both a student and a teacher. While working full-time as a teacher, Kaitlynn was a full-time student at Southern Connecticut State University, pursuing a master's degree in reading. She attended classes at night during the week and on Saturday mornings.

Kaitlynn is set to officially receive her new degree this month.

"I look back on all this work, especially at Southern, and I knew I had to just get one thing done and move to the next," she says. "I was never overwhelmed by it."

Kaitlynn says that she was able to learn something at Southern and immediately use what she learned with her Melillo students.

"I had class on a Tuesday night and I would try something the next day," she says, noting that her students were very glad to be able to help her with her homework.

Kaitlynn is also a tutor at New Haven Reads, a non-profit book bank. Kaitlynn volunteers there once a week during the school year and during the summer months as well.

She started working in the office at New Haven Reads after she graduated from Eastern. She did that as well as serving as a paraprofessional at the former Carbone Elementary School in East Haven. When she was hired at Melillo, Kaitlynn resigned from the job at New Haven Reads and became a volunteer.

Now that Kaitlynn will only be in the classroom as a teacher and not a student, she plans to reserve some time to relax. Traveling is one of the things she likes to do in her spare time. She's already been to California, Greece, and other countries in Europe.

But she will also continue to focus on what she has been doing since she began at Melillo, and that is teaching the various components of language arts, from grammar and reading to writing and vocabulary.

"We've also been working on revamping our curriculum to make it more engaging for the students," Kaitlynn says.

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