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Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching

Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching

Hancock Park Elementary is a proud recipient of a grant from the Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching for the school years, 2019-2021.  *"The mission of the Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING is to transform good teachers into great teachers. This transformation occurs through a program in which proven educators receive coaching and mentoring to achieve the highest levels of teaching excellence.” This is a voluntary program in which a few teachers go through a process of written application answering and reflecting 10 pedagogical questions, classroom/teaching observations and finally an interview with the foundation.  

In April of 2019, five teachers were accepted into the program as fellows with a chosen content area of writing, with one teacher serving as a mentor to the fellows. *"The ART of Teaching’s primary  mission involves an intensive two-year mentor/fellowship program.” The mentor’s primary job is to work side-by-side with the fellows by planning, debriefing, reflecting and using  resources for studying and perfecting the craft of teaching in the chosen content area.


Suzie Litonjua (1st Grade): Being a part of COTSEN cohort for the last two years has been an incredible experience for me.  All the training, workshops, conferences, and class observations I’ve participated in have helped me learn and grow as an educator. I love seeing the excitement in my first graders when I say, “It’s writer’s workshop time.” My students have shown how proud and confident they are when they publish and share their writing.  It’s so amazing to see the growth in my 1st grade writers throughout the school year.  I’ve also heard from parents how excited their children are to write. I am so grateful to be a part of Cotsen and the ongoing learning they provide to all their fellows.  I look forward to continuing building my teacher toolbox filled with strategies and pedagogies to bring into my classroom.

Christine Chipres (2nd Grade): The past 2 years, being a Cotsen fellow has given me one of the most thoughtful and effective professional development in my career.   I have been given the opportunity to attend conferences, to observe and dialogue with expert teachers, plan with colleagues, and collect resources that have improved my pedagogy.  I have seen how effectively the Workshop model has been in giving a voice to our emerging writers.  I am grateful for the continued support Cotsen will give me in allowing me to grow as an educator and better my craft.

Jill Iger (2nd Grade): The Cotsen fellowship has been one of the best professional growth experiences of my career.  It has given me simple and yet effective tools that allow me to help every single student blossom into a confident and joyful writer. The excitement that I see in the students when it is time for writing is palpable, even in virtual learning! I am grateful for my experience during the Cotsen fellowship and am looking forward to all that I will learn in the future as a Cotsen Alumna.

*“The ART of TEACHING program was designed for teachers who are often ignored by the school system because they are so effective and do not require intervention. It is designed to enable those with the most potential to become the very best in their profession. The ART of TEACHING promotes excellence because excellence in teaching is what every child needs.”


The Covid-19 pandemic has definitely brought  challenges and has required  changes in the way we  teach writing from a distance.  The five teacher fellows have worked tirelessly planning, discussing, reflecting, and trying  various methods to engage our students virtually.  The fellows’ efforts are evidenced by their students’ enthusiasm and in their written work despite Zoom fatigue and the challenges that accompany Writer’s Workshop and distance learning. As their mentor, I am in awe of the fellows’ resilience, ever-growing spirit of learning and their curiosity as educators. I have grown alongside them as an educator,  witnessing their commitment to their teaching practice and to the students of Hancock Park Elementary School.  I am honored to introduce our COTSEN fellows of 2019-2021.

*Cited from the COTSEN Foundation, the ART of TEACHING Website

For more information about COTSEN, the ART of TEACHING Foundation, please visit, https://cotsen.org/.

Christine Choi (Kindergarten): I believe continuous learning is vital in any field of expertise.  My success as a teacher means success for my students.  It’s not okay to think that what I did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.  For the past two years, COTSEN has provided that learning for me.  I grew as a teacher, and my students grew as well.

“Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field” -Brian Tracy

Marietta Kim (Kindergarten): My experience with COTSEN has been amazing.  Through all the support and professional development provided by the foundation, I’ve been inspired and encouraged to teach writing through a writer’s workshop model focusing on writing as a process.  Through the writer's workshop model, I encourage my kindergartners to think of themselves as writers and give them the opportunity of choice, to express their thoughts, and to share their stories.  My students show interest in writing and are learning to become confident, independent writers.

Min Pirone (Mentor): My job as a mentor is not to evaluate nor administer the fellows I am honored to “mentor”.  My primary role is to support the teachers set teaching goals in the focus content area and help them reach their personal pedagogical goals by observing lessons and debriefing with them weekly. I work side-by-side with the teachers in studying, planning lessons, and reflecting on teaching strategies to further engage and deepen our students’ understanding of their writing craft. We, as a team have learned a great deal through workshops and conferences considered best in teaching practices sponsored by the Cotsen Foundation. Applying these methods in our classrooms have not only improved our teaching but have given us a new zeal.