Class Schedule

Period 1 - ELA 8
Period 2 - English 9
Period 3 - Literature Elective
Period 5 - ELA 8
Period 6 - English 9
Period 7 - ELA 8
Period 8 - English 9

Teacher Biography


Hello! Mrs. VanZandt here. This is my third year teaching at East Jackson Secondary School and I am so excited to be back for another great year! I am a 2008 Michigan Center High School graduate and I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with a double major in English and Social Studies from Baker College. I also earned my teaching certification through the State of Michigan and have both English and Social Studies endorsements.

A little about me…my husband and I reside in Napoleon township with our two spoiled dogs. Outside of school activities, I enjoy traveling, reading, fishing, crafting, being outdoors, watching Michigan football and spending time with family!

I absolutely love my job and my students and wouldn’t trade a day in the classroom for the world! I look forward to getting to know each and every one of my students and building healthy relationships with them throughout the school year.

Mission Statement:

I am committed to creating a safe classroom atmosphere that is stimulating and encouraging to all students while ensuring that every student’s learning style and abilities are addressed and met through differentiated instruction and assessment.

Philosophy of Education:

My philosophy of education is centered around students. I believe the most important way to understand student needs is by building student-teacher relationships. Without a healthy relationship, it will be difficult for students to prosper and grow. Creating a warm and welcoming classroom environment, and making students feel safe and respected, is the first step in any successful education experience.

Education is the cornerstone of any successful society, and that is why the dedication of an educator is so important. My place as an educator is to guide students to practice good citizenship, grow as individuals, and become dedicated to their own success. I look at the students’ individual needs and prepare lesson plans accordingly and implement differentiation to reach each student to the best of my ability. I strive to challenge students to reach their full potential and enjoy watching them grow as they go through that process.

I want students to have academic freedoms that allow for creativity and personal interpretation and growth when possible. My goal is that by the end of the school year, students will think critically on their own. I want them to ask questions about a topic and also be able to use their cognitive skills to answer them independently. It is beneficial for students to work for an "answer" rather than being told what is correct or incorrect. Being able to think critically will also help students in real-life situations outside of the classroom. I also relate content to their personal lives whenever possible to help achieve this goal.

I teach with the intent to better each individual. To achieve this, I frequently incorporate technology into classroom activities, however, I also know the importance of face-to-face communication. I teach them to work together and grow their social skills through cooperative learning and group activities. I believe it is important to help students develop social and interactive skills along with their content knowledge.

As an educator I know that I am able to learn just as much from my students as they learn from me.

Classroom Notes



Parents and students – Please feel free to contact me at any time via email at I will do my best to respond within 24 hrs or the next school day. You can also utilize my planning period (period 4) and times before or after school for any questions/concerns/comments you may have!


ELA 8:
In this course we will delve into the core fundamentals of middle school English: reading, writing, literature, listening, speaking, grammar and mechanics. This course will challenge you to reach high standards in literary analysis and writing, and to exercise critical thinking skills. Throughout the course you will actively read and respond to short stories, poems, novels and informational text. Writing in this course will range from informal quick writes to formal, structured papers using text evidence and MLA format. We will work together to accomplish these tasks, but you will be held responsible for your own learning. Most importantly, we will have fun and create memories while working through the curriculum!

Some of the stories we will read include: The Monkey’s Paw, Tell-Tale Heart, Flowers for Algernon, The Diary of Anne Frank, Paul Revere’s Ride (poem), and The Outsiders (novel).

English 9:
Coursework is designed to facilitate mastery of the Common Core State Standards and to help you become a better reader, writer, speaker, and thinker. Along the way, we’ll enjoy great pieces of classic literature, including William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Homer’s The Odyssey and Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. We will learn the difference between different types of writing and practice writing our own narratives, expository pieces and argumentative essays. We’ll improve your grammar knowledge, advance your vocabulary, sharpen your public speaking skills and have a great time learning together!

Literature Elective (MS):
In this course we will identify different representations of literature in film and analyze the influence these different mediums have. We will be reading/watching Where the Red Fern Grows and the entire Hunger Games series (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay). You will also complete your own Multi-Media assignments based on novels we read in class. Be prepared to get creative!

Classroom Gallery

Video Gallery

Important Documents