Mission Statement: To unite the rigorous academic disciplines of English, social studies, science, and innovative thinking by encouraging the exchange of ideas through collaboration and problem-based learning.
The 7th-grade EDGE program will consist of English and science classes. Together, the student with their EDGE teachers and classmates will collaboratively support the student’s journey by collecting and analyzing information while, at the same time, developing communication skills. Public speaking and scholarly writing for a real-world audience along with research skills within an intellectual, innovative and nurturing environment will be emphasized. The 7th-grade EDGE program will strengthen and extend critical thinking, independent research skills, and collaborative teamwork focusing on problem solving. After completing the 7th-grade EDGE program, the student will then continue their studies in 8th-grade as a member of the English/social studies EDGE cohort.
The 8th-grade EDGE program will be your social studies and English classes. Together, the student with their EDGE teachers and classmates will collaboratively support the student’s journey by collecting and analyzing information while, at the same time, developing communication skills. Public speaking and scholarly writing for a real- world audience along with research skills within an intellectual, innovative and nurturing environment will be emphasized. The student will then, hopefully, continue their studies by applying to The Center for Advanced Studies and Research, a three-year program at Thousand Oaks High School, beginning in 10th grade.
The 7th- and 8th-grade EDGE Cohort classes will encourage students to innovate, create, collaborate, embrace challenges, explore through inquiry, see multiple perspectives, think critically and learn from failure while practicing a growth mindset.
Laura Detweiler is a literacy, social studies, civics education, and leadership teacher. She spent her early career teaching at Acacia Elementary School & Lang Ranch Elementary School, teaching various grade levels before accepting a social studies position at Redwood Middle School in 1997. Laura has served as a mentor teacher, served on various writing and history/social science committees and cohorts, and is Redwood's Middle School's social studies department chair and Leadership Advisor. Through her 34-year teaching career, Mrs. Detweiler has remained passionate about teaching her students to think and write like historians and helping students connect to the Redwood community.
Mrs. Christine Elkington, a New York native, traveled the world while working on her college degrees. She completed her BA in physical education with a minor in biology from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (anyone ever played snowshoe baseball?). She received her M.Ed. in educational counseling in Utah where she taught high school and 2nd and 3rd grade until she decided she liked middle school the best. She taught math and science AND skiing in Park City, Utah for 6 years. She then moved to California and has raised both of her daughters (Molly, 18 and Emma, 22) here in Thousand Oaks for the past 20 years while teaching at Redwood. Over these years she planned curriculum and instruction courses of study for 7th- and 8th-grade math; was a teacher trainer for district CVUSD staff development; and together with Mr. Snow, she developed the first successful AVID program at Redwood for CVUSD. She has a horse named Buster and loves to make jewelry, ski, swim in the ocean, scuba dive and ride bikes. The EDGE Science class speaks to her expertise and her passion to be a better educator on the cutting edge. She is excited and ecstatic to contribute to the EDGE team to create a truly innovative, inspirational program where creativity and exploration are at the forefront of knowledge.
Nancy Joly-Cause, a reading, writing, and social studies teacher, holds a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from California Lutheran University and a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She spent many productive years teaching at Westlake Elementary and Madroña Elementary before joining the staff of Redwood Middle School. Nancy has also served as a district writing mentor, Upper-Grade Lead Teacher, and currently as Redwood’s English Department Chair. As a veteran teacher with thirty years of classroom experience in multiple grade levels, she lives by the motto: In order for kids to care about what you are teaching, they must first know that you care about them.
In the 8th-grade cohort, Mrs. Joly-Cause and Mrs. Detweiler will emphasize research skills based upon essential questions and themes in the social sciences. The English component of the cohort will complement and enhance the in-depth understanding of these discipline-specific questions through the refinement of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Essential questions will be the springboard to foster student-driven and self-selected research projects within a real-world connection.
Mr. Snow graduated from Westmont College with a major in English creative writing and a minor in art history. He then went on to get his credential and M.Ed. through Azusa Pacific University and got his history authorization through various universities and colleges. Mr. Snow enjoys reading history, fantasy and sci-fi; writing poetry and stories or books; playing, writing and listening to music; and running. He and his wife, Ellen, have two sets of boy-girl twins and are active in their church. Mr. Snow began at Redwood in 2006 and has taught English, history, AVID, ASB, and now EDGE. He is very excited to help create, develop and teach this vital program!