Degrees and Certifications:
Mr. Joshua Stinson
My name is Joshua Stinson an I am an English teacher at Mira Loma High School. More importantly, if you’re reading this, I am most likely a teacher to a child in your home! I hope that your family’s summer has been a wonderful time to enjoy some quality time together and recharge those internal batteries. The the dawn of the first day of school is around the corner! I hope that as a parent you are excited that your student is moving a year closer towards graduation and that your student is excited to advance one year closer to being a prepared and educated adult!
This is my fifth year at Mira Loma, but it’s really by 9th. What do I mean by that? I am not just an educator at Mira Loam, I am also an alumni. I graduated in 1997 as an I.B. student back when Mira Loma’s I.B program was still making a name for itself. I believe that my attendance at MLHS has helped anchor me closer to the school. It adds fuel to my commitment and energy to help every student not just graduate, but be prepared for college and useful employment!
After graduating high school I realized that my family had to path nor support for getting into or attending college. I was the first to do either. Looking for a way to pay for college and improve myself, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps wherein I worked in electronic countermeasure and went on two deployments. Seeing the world and its diverse cultural heritages aided in expanding how I saw the world, welcomed diversion and gained an almost infinite source of confidence. Balancing the ‘real world’ of military service and deployments with my I.B. education provided me with the in class philosophy to anchor a student’s learning directly to how it will help them function today and tomorrow. I want students to find meaning and reward in what they learn while always depositing new understanding and ideas inside them for college.
In class a few concepts that we work to develop and expand on is the idea that we are all citizens of equal value. Equal agency is the key to earning and receiving real respect, the sharing of thoughts, perspectives and ideas, the safety to ‘not know’ and be vulnerable enough to admit when you need help. Having said that it is important to know that there is never a wasted day. I don’t show movies in class because there is always so much to learn that 180 days of a school year is never enough. Please know that your student will almost always have homework. Please know that completing that homework is a basic expectation of the school and being in my class. I however want the homework assignments to be a supplement to the classroom. It may often involve you as the parent. I like to have parents know where their students are at in their reading, comprehension and vocabulary skills. Your student will be asked to read newspaper articles to you once in a while, read passages from text or share with you what they are reading. All you need to do is listen to them while you cook dinner, fold laundry or use the time as an excuse to sit down for a moment.
There is also a few housekeeping things I think you should know about. Students may be allowed to use cell phones from time to time to aid in research, read passages but you should know that it is not okay to have a parent call their student during class time nor is it okay to expect your student to contact you during class time. Cell phones can be a tool but by and large they are a distraction. I do enforce the District’s Cell Phone Policy that over all does not allow them to be out in class. We also will be working on professional and personal speech in class. Your student may receive detentions if they curse in class. While I am a Marine and have heard it all, I am preparing each student for their college, intern and employment interviews where it cost them dearly if they misspeak when excited, frazzled or comfortable.In addition to cursing use of language that is hate speech or is disparaging to women will be treated as cursing so please help them create good habits for the work place by reducing their speech at home if possible.
Now, sending home a letter at the beginning of the year can seem tedious, but I really want to help you set a positive expectation of the growth you will see in your student. Not only will you know where they are in their reading and writing skills, but we can then work as a team (the three of us) in improving those skills because we all want to see your student thrive as they graduate. I would like you to have your student come to class on the first day with a writing journal so we can make the most of your class time from the first day!
My commitment is to be as easy to communicate with as possible. You can text me anytime if you have a concern. I use a google voice text system that is only used for this class. You can dial (916)425-8201 if you have questions or comments. Moreover, I love using email because of the ease in sending lost attachments. If your student has a 504 plan or I.E.P and you feel comfortable attaching that information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lastly, face to face communication is always so much more enjoyable. Paper and text often do not relay the tone of cheerfulness that an in person greeting can. We have our Open House September 12th from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm. It would be great to see you there.
Lastly, because it is so important that communication be open between parent and teacher, if you email me with your student’s name in the subject line, they will receive 25 points of extra credit. Whether it be text, calls or in person I hope that you will communicate with me as the school year begins. Preparing students for adulthood is no small feat. It is certainly easier when all the people who care about your student know and work with each other for their benefit!