Wossman High School Summer Reading 2020: Go to Google Classroom and add the Summer Reading class with the following code: wipscdm
While you are away from us in-person, Wildcat, please just know we love you, we miss you, and we know you're essential!
English Language Arts=reading, speaking/listening, writing, grammar, language, choice reading, thinking--being!
Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year, Wildcats!
Mr. Justin Craig Overacker
2020 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year Nominee
ELA Content Leader & Mentor Teacher
English II & Educators Rising Teacher
Wossman High School
1600 Arizona Avenue
Monroe, Louisiana, 71202
Miss Tori Gomez
2019-2020 University of Louisiana at Monroe & Monroe City Schools Resident Co-Teacher
ULM Prep Staff
I am overjoyed to experience my ninth year teaching at the magnanimous high school I started at right out of college. I graduated in 2010 from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (GEAUX CAJUNS!) where I received a BA in English with a minor in Cinema Studies and French. My English concentrations were African American Literature (focus in Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin), Southern & Louisiana Literature (focus in Kate Chopin, JT Toole, Flannery O'Connor), and Victorian Literature (focus in George Gissing, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy). I learned about literature, author's tone, and, more importantly, about myself during my undergrad coursework at UL and truly miss home. Everyone born in south Louisiana will relate to this feeling of disconnection being in a foreign place like Monroe. Yet, I absolutely adore my job. A month after graduating from UL, I was approached by our current Superintendent (then Principal of Neville HS), Dr. Vidrine, about teaching. Dr. Vidrine always believed in me and saw something I did not--the tenacity, drive, and humility needed to become an educator. He knew there was a semester-long position available at Wossman...and I took it!
The Hate U Give author, Angie Thomas, and Mr. O in 2018.
Christ led me to this career. Universities can teach the art of education all they want, but Christ chooses teachers and places them in classrooms across the world. The reason I say this is because I had never taken an education course in my life before entering the classroom. However, I adapted so smoothly to the life of being an educator. My first year was complex and draining in that I would complete lesson plans to the absolute dot of the i and crossing of the t while never adjusting to my new environment in north Louisiana. Yet, I got accustomed to the early days and aching toes of the profession. I saw teaching as a challenge--both social, mental, and emotional. I became a teacher researcher and yearned to learn more about the art of teaching. Ever since then, my life has revolved around teaching my kiddos the art of English Language Arts! I eat, breathe, and sleep pedagogy (the art of teaching). I am one of those individuals that cherishes learning--I believe education can revolutionize our lives if we are persistent. I grew up poor and had a very difficult childhood, yet reading took me places other than where I was. I am a passionate advocate for reading. And although I am an English teacher, I will always be a reading teacher first and foremost. I have experienced how drastically reading can change lives. In May 2015, I received my Master's degree in Teaching from the prestigious College of Education at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, LA. I start taking additional classes for my Plus 30 certification this winter so that I can attain my add-on as a reading specialist and to teach the academically gifted. In addition, I am a Teacher Leader, Content Leader, and Assessment Committee Member for the State of Louisiana and a Teacher Leader for the International Literacy Association and the American Federation of Teachers. Furthermore, I tour the country and teach other teachers how to integrate ELA strategies into their instruction.
Jesmyn Ward, Mr. O's favorite author, at the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, Miss., in 2018.
This road called life has been filled with many joys, yet also many downfalls. Yet, I have Christ within me and in my heart every day I walk into room 216. I celebrate life with my students at the end of the school year, but that is after a year of high expectations and rich learning. I am a blessed individual to be in the classroom every day of my life educating our future. Through consistent classroom routines and procedures, diverse learning experience, and a dynamic teaching style, my classroom is a place where learning can be exciting and magnetic.
Mr. O. at the Edgar Allan Poe Memorial in Baltimore, Maryland, in Summer 2014.
Click here to view the Scholastic TeacherTalk Interview with Mr. Overacker to view his philosophy on teaching: http://educatorcommunity.scholastic.com/site/community-in-the-classroom/blog/community-in-the-classroom/teacher-talk-lovin-read-180-in-louisiana
Click here to read a column Mr. Overacker wrote for the Louisiana Department of Education's October 2018 Teacher Leader Newsletter
In 2018, Wossman High School garnered state-wide success when, not only did its principal, Dr. Eric Davis, win the 2019 Louisiana State Principal of the Year award, but also the state recognized the English Language Arts Department at Wossman as the number one high school for progress growth in the entire state. Pictured above are Wossman Alumnae Dr. Eric Davis, now Principal at Carroll High School; Ms. Roxi Mackens, now LDOE Region Leader; Ms. Tanjavette Jackson, now English III teacher at Carroll High School; and Mrs. Shelronder Williams, now Master Teacher in Caddo Parish. Congratulations to all Wildcats now serving the areas of our state with their continued Excelsior spirit!
In 2019, Wossman High Wildcats repeated its glorious yet humble success as becoming an A school, accumulating an Equity Honoree distinction for astounding subgroup scores in the 90th percentile, and designating as a Top Gains Honoree for progress index. Pictured above are (from left to right): Miss Gomez, 2019 ULM Resident; Mr. Overacker; Miss Stuart, 2019 LA Tech Resident; Ms. Jackson; Miss Curry, 2019 LA Tech Resident; and Ms. Manuel. We welcome our new residents as well as Ms. Angelica Cooper and Ms. Melanie Soignier to our Wossman ELA family!
PARENTS: Please read my memo to you below and check the following weekly: PARENT COMMAND CENTER, Mr. Overacker's Week in Focus (tab to the right), Homework and Events (tab to the right), and READ 180 Course Documents (tab to the right). Thank you and have a magnanimous day!
WILDCAT PARENTS: May I just say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a driving force in your child's education! Dedicated parents are needed in our world today and you should pat yourself on the back right now (I am serious...do it!) for being a caring and loving parent! If you ever need to contact me, please schedule a conference through the guidance department (my schedule is below) or call my extension at Wossman (x1461)! You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. Thank you for your concern and guidance in the lives of our future doctors, lawyers, and Presidents of the world!
Mr. Overacker's 2019-2020 Schedule
1st period: English II Pre-AP
2nd period: Educators Rising I (CURR 201 DC) and Mentor Teacher/Content Leader Prep
3rd period: English II Pre-AP
4th period: Prep Period*
5th period: English II Pre-AP
6th period: English II Pre-AP
7th period: English II Pre-AP
*Note: I take phone calls and am open for conferences at this period of time only. I will not sacrifice class time to meet parents or receive phone calls. I will also meet before and after school. I am usually at school an hour before time and two hours after school ends (except on Fridays).
Mission: We are W.I.L.D.C.A.T.S. Proud!
Working to Improve Learning and Discipline with
Curriculums, Assessments, and Teaching Strategies
that are evidenced-based: some old, some new, all tried and true.
The vision of Wossman High School is that
with the support and participation of all stakeholders,
our graduates will become productive citizens
in the world through the educational and social opportunities provided at our school.
I wanted to share some engaging and inspirational quotes from Dr. Maya Angelou; she appeared on "Master Class," a new television series on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)--which happens to be my new obsession!
"If a human being dreams a great dream, dares to love somebody; if a human being dares to be Martin King, or Mahatma Gandhi, or Mother Theresa, or Malcolm X; if a human being dares to be bigger than the condition into which she or he was born—it means so can you. And so you can try to stretch, stretch, stretch yourself so you can internalize, 'Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto. I am a human being, nothing human can be alien to me.' That's one thing I'm learning."
"When you learn much, teach more"
"Prepare yourself so you that can be a rainbow in somebody elses cloud; somebody that may not look like you, may not call God the same name that you call God, if they call God at all, you see? And may not eat the same dishes prepared the way you do, may not dance your dances, or speak your language. But, be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think."
CLASS OF 2012 Graduation ceremony