ABOUT MR. SIGAFUS


PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Jake Sigafus
Mr. Sigafus is a Technology and Manufacturing teacher at Orem Junior High School

I have been a teacher at Orem Junior High School in  Alpine School district since student teaching there in January 2000. Since that time, I have taught 13 different classes.
I have had the benefit of having great mentors who have encouraged me to become involved at all levels of education. Thanks to their influence, I have become highly involved at the school, district, and state levels. These experiences have helped me become a better classroom teacher and leader. After serving in a more administrative role at the district level, I am now able to be back in the classroom being able to directly influence students.

I am convinced that this truly is the best profession in the world!

(CLICK HERE to learn about my personal bio and “fun side”!)

Teaching Experience | Educational Leadership & Mentoring | Professional Organizations | Awards | Extra Curricular | Volunteer Service and Ecclesiastical Leadership | Education

Teaching Experience

Orem Junior High School:          August 2001-Present

After student teaching at Orem Junior High in 2000, I was hired as a full-time substitute teacher there for the next year. In August 2001 I was hired on full-time. Over the course of the next few years, I developed the German program from 2 courses to an almost full schedule of German. I was also able to promote full-year language courses starting in the 7th grade, allowing students to progress farther in their language proficiency. I was able to maintain this German program at the school in spite of decreasing school enrollment and designation as a Title I School.

In the fall of 2018, I was given the opportunity to influence a different group of students at our school by leaving the German and Health classrooms and going into the Technology and Engineering department where I am currently teaching everything from college and career awareness, to digital design, to manufacturing with metals and wood. This change has enabled me to get to know more students at our school.

Timpanogos High School: August 2012-2015

After many years of language promotion at the high school and district level, the principal at THS agreed to allow me to teach 1 section of German to allow my students to continue their experience. I have increased class enrollment steadily from one small class the first year, to one class of 60 students the next. In my third year, I had 2 sections of German 3-4 and AP. The program is healthy and growing.

Brigham Young University Student Instructor: 1998-2000

During my undergraduate studies, I worked as a student instructor teaching German 101 and 102.

EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP, INSTRUCTIONAL COACHING, and MENTORING

ASD World Language Content Specialist:          2009-2018

I was appointed as the district world language content specialist after serving as a member of the committee for 5 years. Since 2009 I have been actively engaged in strengthening the language programs and language instruction throughout the district. Since the beginning, I created a leadership team made up of the department chair from each secondary school (22 schools). The work of this team has changed the direction of our district’s language programs. We have developed and are implementing a common curriculum that is based on language proficiency.

This leadership team was in charge of all professional development for world language teachers at the district level.

ASD New Teacher Mentor:          2009-2018

As part of my role as district world language specialist, each year I trained, taught, and mentored all of the new world language teachers in the Alpine School District. I also coached them on instructional best-practices and new language teaching methodologies.

ASD Dual Immersion Specialist:          June 2012-August 2014

For 2 years I took a special half-time assignment to help the district implement the new state Dual Immersion program.

I supported teachers and administrators and advocated for these programs within the communities throughout the district. I also had the opportunity to meet with and influence decisions made at the district cabinet level.

Instructional Coaching: 2014-2019

After being involved in trainings by Jim Knight and many others, I became an instructional coach for all content areas at Orem Junior High from 2016-2019. I also served as the instructional coach for the world language team at Timpanogos High School for the 2014-15 school year.

President: Utah Foreign Language Association

After serving on the board of the Utah Foreign Language Association for 8 years, I served a 3-year term as president-elect, president, and past-president. UFLA exists to support language students educators by providing professional development opportunities and promoting language learning for all.

Utah Language Teachers Consortium

After noticing that the state of Utah was doing so much to promote and support the dual immersion programs at the elementary level, Bonnie Flint from the Davis School District, Sharon Gracia from the Granite School District and I created a consortium to support the secondary world language teachers in the state. We partnered with Brigham Young University, University of Utah, and Utah State University in plans to develop a website to provide Utah’s secondary World Language teachers the support needed to teach in the target language, create and use proficiency-based lessons and assessments, and engage students in meaningful, real-world tasks.

Language Advocacy and Support of the Profession

As the Alpine School District language specialist, I had many opportunities to promote language learning in schools throughout the district. I met with each of the secondary principals to educate them about the need to have strong language programs and have well-articulated programs from the junior high schools through the high school level.

I presented on a number of occasions to the district administration and cabinet, educating them about the benefits of second language learning and the need for district support of these programs. Through my work with my team, the district world language department has been held up at the district level as a model team accomplishing the district goals. In turn, this has effectively put our language programs in a very good light at the district level.

During my time as the district’s dual immersion specialist, I met with elementary principals throughout the district and we added 2 additional elementary language immersion programs with future growth anticipated including additional critical needs languages.

Utah German Task Force

I served as a member of the task force, whose primary goal is to promote German language learning throughout the state. We worked hard to add German to the Dual Immersion offerings at the elementary level.

State Committees (Utah):          2009-2018

I served as a member of the State World Language Committee representing Alpine School District as well as the Utah Foreign Language Association. I have worked as a member of the State Core Curriculum Committee and on the state Secondary Dual-Immersion committee.

Department Chair / Collaboration Team Leader: August 2002-2018

I mentored and lead collaboration within the world language department. In addition, I served as a member of the school leadership team.  

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Utah Foreign Language Association: UFLA

I served a three-year term as President-Elect, President, and Past President of UFLA in addition to being the recording secretary on the board for 8 years.

American Association of Teachers of German: AATG

I was an active participant of our local Utah chapter of AATG activities for many years. I served as webmaster for our chapter for 4 years.

National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Language: NADSFL

I was a member of the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages starting in 2010. Involvement in this organization was integral in my networking with language professionals nation-wide. Connections made there were key in driving the direction of language learning in the Alpine School District.

Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)

Utah ACTE

AWARDS

TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Orem Junior High School 2018-2019

TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Timpanogos Cluster- ASD, 2018-2019

TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Alpine School District, 2018-2019

UTAH FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHER OF THE YEAR: 2016-2017

In 2015 I wrote a grant to incorporate the use of technology in my classroom and was awarded $16,000 to purchase and use iPads in our language courses.

Extra-Curricular School Involvement

School Community Council

I have served as a member of the school community council and have actively worked with parents and the community for over 12 years at Orem Junior High. I served 2-3 terms as council vice-chair.

Track Coach

I have been the track coach at Orem Junior High School since 2000 when I was student teaching. I love it and haven’t been able to give it up.

Cross Country Coach

Alpine School District started a cross country program for junior high schools in the fall of 2018. I have been the coach since it’s beginning.

National Junior Honor Society Advisor

I served as the chapter advisor for Orem Junior High School’s National Junior Honor Society for 3 years.

Yearbook Staff Adviser

I was the classroom teacher for the yearbook staff for 8 years at Orem Junior High.

VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE and ECCLESIASTICAL LEADERSHIP

I have served as a first and second counselor to ecclesiastical leaders on 4 different occasions since 2002, serving and leading congregations of over 500 people. In addition to also serving as an executive secretary and clerk, I have had the opportunity to serve as the leader of an organization for young men from the ages of 12-18 and serving as a leader overseeing the welfare of elderly single and widowed individuals in our congregation.  I have served on monthly leadership councils with other church leaders over our congregations since 1998.

Boy Scouts of America

I have served as a Scout Leader in the Boy Scouts of America for 6 years, working directly with the boys in teaching leadership and survival skills. Prior to that assignment, I was the Chartered Organization Representative for our troop for 5 years.

Education and Certification

German, AA Degree, December 1996, Ricks College, Rexburg, Idaho
German Teaching, BA Degree, April 2000, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Utah Secondary Education License-  Endorsements: German, Health, Drivers Education, Technology Education (completed June 2019)