Open Up Resources EL Education K–8 Language Arts Teacher of the Month: Heather Plassman

Heather Plassman, a first-grade teacher at John Colemon Elementary of Rutherford County Public Schools (TN), has been named the Open Up Resources EL Education K–8 Language Arts Teacher of the Month for November. 

Plassman’s work with EL Education K–8 Language Arts makes her one of the most innovative teachers in the country. The EL Education K–8 Language Arts curriculum inspires a new way of teaching language arts by engaging students through compelling, real-world content to build equitable and inclusive learning opportunities.

Nominated by Instructional Coach, Karen Williams, Plassman has been a leader during the district’s first year of implementation. Williams shared, “Mrs. Plassman has been a team leader by ensuring resources work for our students and teachers. In addition, she’s created resources and shared with others to make sure our first year is a success.”

Plassman says her favorite part of her first year with the curriculum has been seeing how it works to build confidence in students within her very diverse classroom. “This curriculum supports all levels of abilities while setting high expectations for the standards to be taught. My school is seeing growth and consistency from Kindergarten all the way to fifth grade,” she said.

When asked what advice she would have for other teachers new to the curriculum she shared a wealth of knowledge. “I would say ‘Do not be intimidated.’ It is a lot in a range of positives! This curriculum is full of rich cross-curricular text, diversity, promotes student engagement and routines, sets high expectations, promotes social-emotional learning, is differentiated, and much more,” she explained. “Read it, study it, post note it, and you will be able to execute this curriculum for your students and set them up for success!”

Open Up Resources is a non-profit on a mission to increase equity in education by making excellent, top-rated curricula freely available to districts. You can learn more at Learn more about and join our communities here.

About EL Education K-8: 

EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) is redefining student achievement in diverse communities across the country. Founded over 20 years ago through the collaboration of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound, EL Education operates a national network of more than 150 high-achieving public schools serving over 4,000 teachers and 50,000 students, often in high-need communities.

EL Education creates great public schools where they are needed most. In addition, EL Education leverages its expertise to bring powerful resources to schools nationally: the organization provides curriculum, masterful coaching, and professional development, and publishes a portfolio of award-winning, educator-developed materials.

EL Education’s deep education expertise is simply unparalleled among materials developers. Learn more about EL Education here.