Beth Chana Academy is delighted to be offering its seniors a UConn College credit course, English 1011 where seniors will earn four college credits for a full-year course. Courses taken through this UConn Early College Experience are equivalent to the courses offered on any of the University of Connecticut campuses. Courses are taught on the high school campus by high school instructors who have been certified as adjunct faculty members by the University of Connecticut.
Taught by Dr. Theresa Vara-Dannen, a graduate of Manhattan College (B.A. in English and French); New York Law School (J.D.); Wesleyan University (C.A.S.); and Swansea University, Wales (Ph.D. English), Dr. Vara-Dannen has been teaching 9th-through 12th grade students in Darien, Hartford, and Waterbury, CT, for the past twenty-five years.
Dr. Vara-Dannen was awarded the Gilder Lehrman Award for Connecticut History Teacher of the Year based on her teaching in American Studies, while her University of Hartford Teaching Award for Innovation and Collaboration, the Yale Educator of the Year Award (2011), and the UConn ECE Instructor Award for Excellence and earlier recognitions were granted for her teaching of English and American Studies. In 2014, she was honored as University High School Teacher of the Year, and National Council for Teachers of English High School Teacher of Excellence (New England Chapter).
Most importantly, her philosophy of teaching revolves around respect for her students; she feels the creation of a warm classroom environment centered on scholarly inquiry and student engagement is critical for the development of young minds. This “pedagogy of belonging” allows students to feel they can safely speak their minds and hearts, and makes student growth the shared mission.
A graduate of an all-girls parochial school, she is a great believer in the value of a single-gender religious education, and is pleased to be teaching at Bais Chana Academy. “A wonderful addition to the BCA staff this year, Dr. Vara Dannen brings a wealth of experience with students of all ages in university, high school and Adult Education settings”, said Bluma Hecht, BCA principal. “Teaching English and History courses at Beth Chana this year, while acting as Secular Studies Curriculum Coordinator, Dr. Vara Dannen will open many opportunities for our students in their research and writing,” she said. Beth Chana Academy High School is located in Orange, CT. For more information about the school, please call 203-795-5261.