Welcome to the home to United Teachers of Lowell's Straight Talk podcast. Each Wednesday we'll post a new interview with useful news and information for our members. We hope you'll come back each week to learn what's new! 

Episode 18: Spotlight on Holly Fleury

Episode 18: Spotlight on Holly Fleury

As accustomed as the Lowell Public Schools are to non-native English Language speakers and their needs, there are special challenges for those students who are newcomers to our schools. Today we have the privilege of speaking with Holly Fleury. Holly teaches first and second grade newcomer students at the STEM Academy at the Rogers School.

Teaching newcomers, those students whose native language is not English and who have had limited exposure to English, is a unique challenge. In an effort to meet the needs of her students and their families, Holly surveyed the support staff at the school in an effort to find commonly requested school information and some concerns families of newcomer students held. This became the basis for a website which Holly envisioned would be welcoming to families and bridge some of the cultural differences for newcomer families transitioning to the US.

As a recent recipient of a MATSOL grant, Holly used a portion of the grant award to support the development of a family-friendly website welcoming families and offering information to families in several of the languages. See the link to the Stem Academy website here, or in the More Information section below. The website, a collaboration between Holly and Lowell Technology Integration Specialist Kara Wilkins, was built using Google sites and can be adapted to other school’s specifics. For more information on this website and to explore adapting it for your own school’s use, contact Holly through her school email:

As an educator, Holly continues to find new ways to integrate technology into the school day. Some of these include:

  • streamlining the instructional day by maintaining documents on Google Drive including links to weather stations, Google classroom applications, Foss Web lessons, Smart Notebook software, and linking to other ELL teachers as well as streamlining classroom management tasks like class jobs, student groupings, morning message

  • communicating with families (using Remind and Google Site)

  • creating a fun and motivational classroom community through the use of notebook games, YouTube videos of songs (Jack Hartmann), Whiteboard writing with different pen styles, Skype, and Green screens.


  • STEM Academy at the Rogers School’s website URL is found here.

  • Massachusetts Association of Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages maintains a website at

  • The grant awarded to Holly, Linda Schulman Innovation Fund grant, is awarded yearly. Applications are due around mid March and are presented at their annual conference at the end of May. Click here for more information

Thanks to Holly for spending time with us today and sharing her experiences as a newcomer teacher and her experiences integrating technology into her classroom and teaching.

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Episode 19: A Conversation With AFT-MA President Beth Kontos

Episode 19: A Conversation With AFT-MA President Beth Kontos

Episode 17: Accounting for Accountability

Episode 17: Accounting for Accountability