Science Education Alumna Alexandra Barr '20 Teaches at Florida Magnet School Alumni Profile
Meet Alexandra Barr '20
- Job Title & Employer
- 8th Grade Physical Science Teacher, Brookside Middle School, Sarasota County Schools
- Education 4th – 8th Grade
- College Activities
- Women's cross country, track and field
- Smooth Transition Transfer Scholarship
- Pittsburgh, Pa.; Baldwin High School
- Now Living In
- Sarasota, Fla.
- Hobbies & Interests
Spending time outdoors, fitness, self-development, reading and designing
"The diverse and artistic approach that the School of Education applies to teaching is outstanding and assures students that they will be prepared for the field. The field experiences I accumulated during my Point Park career provided me with different strategies that can be used globally."
How did you land your current role at Brookside Middle School?
I was looking for full-time teaching jobs and started looking in other states. My family has vacationed in Sarasota several times, and it just so happened that Brookside was hiring. I did my research and was excited to learn that they were an A-rated school with approximately 750 students.
What do you love about teaching science, and what's one of your favorite units to teach?
I love teaching science because it informs students about the way of life, how we think and why the world works the way it does. It gives students the chance to be creative, accept failure and change, experiment and most importantly, collaborate with others. The chemistry unit was a blast to teach this year. I came in with material already prepped and had Gizmos mapped out, which are virtual math and science simulations that foster interactive STEM learning experiences. I created a vocabulary project using the R.A.F.T writing strategy and let the students lean into their creative side. Some students created comic strips and postcards to express their understanding of the material. The vocabulary terms for this unit were tough, especially since there were 35 key terms, so wrapping it all up in a storytelling format was the perfect ending for this particular unit.
Describe a moment in your current job that really reaffirmed your passion for teaching.
Brookside is an International Baccalaureate World School. What does that mean, and how does that play into the lessons you prepare?
Being an International Baccalaureate World School, we plan lessons that are based off a rigid curriculum focused on connecting students to their world around them in a holistic, self-directed way. We teach students about mindfulness, self-management, perseverance and resilience. The rigorous curriculum and classroom management strategies really prepares them for secondary education. As I am planning a lesson, it is my responsibility to consider international perspectives, and we use an approach that is directed towards the learner, so instead of the lessons being presented as coming from the teacher, it is presented to students as “I will learn," and "And I will know I have an understanding of the material when I can..." This learner-centered strategy gives students an idea of what is being taught during that day, how they will learn, what they will learn and what they are expected to do by the end of the day.
How did Point Park University prepare you for career success?
The diverse and artistic approach that the School of Education applies to teaching is outstanding and assures students that they will be prepared for the field. The field experiences I accumulated during my Point Park career provided me with different strategies that can be used globally. For example, I had the opportunity to complete a three-week study abroad program in Greystones, Ireland. The School of Education's involvement with charter schools and its special education program also make it stand out from other universities.
Faculty members Kamryn York, Ed.D., and Denise Beverina-Moore, M.A., have been extremely supportive throughout my Point Park career and beyond. From endless emails with their generous guidance to sharing job opportunities with me, I would not be where I am today without these two knowledgeable women!
Lastly, Point Park's transfer process was easy and welcoming. I was afraid at first coming into a new school, but I quickly realized how supportive and credible the School of Education's program was.
Why would you recommend Point Park to a prospective student?
Point Park has many groups, activities, and opportunities in the Pittsburgh to help any student pursue their career goals. The support available to students is endless, and the University community is positive, encouraging and enthusiastic.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My goal is to have an impact on not only one student, but every student I teach, through my attitude, leadership qualities and passion for helping others.