Meet Julie Bean Tigay a Literacy coordinator working at Hillel Day School. She’s been teaching for 20 years and also a mom of 2 boys, Ethan and Jonah. She has a passion for literacy instruction and has been able to be a part of the revamping of the language arts curriculum – most recently the entire Kindergarten through 4th grade. Read more to learn about Julie’s passion in helping children and her wonderful family.
How many children do you have and what are their names and ages?
2 boys, Ethan is 14 and Jonah is 11
Where do your kids go to school?
Ethan is freshman at Bloomfield Hills High School and Jonah is a 6th grader at Hillel Day School
You are a teacher and literacy coordinator working at Hillel Day School. Tell us about your work with the kids and a little bit about your background?
I have been teaching for 20 years. I spent 9 years at Doherty Elementary in West Bloomfield and then came to Hillel 11 years ago. When I began at Hillel, I already had a passion for literacy instruction and soon was able to be a part of the revamping of the language arts curriculum – most recently the entire Kindergarten through 4th grade. Hillel is a school that responds to students’ needs. That is definitely unique and can’t be found in many other schools. As a result, children end up gaining more confidence in who they are as people because they’re believed in and so by default they have confidence to take risks.
How did you get started?
My LOVE for teaching all things reading and writing began when I was a student teacher. My mentor teacher was a literacy coach for the Walled Lake School District. I not only was able to learn from her in the classroom, but also had a unique experience of shadowing her as a literacy coach.
With the recent years, what are you seeing these days with young kids when it comes to literacy? Do you have any tips for parents on when they should be concerned or possibly reach out for assistance?
Stay connected with your child’s teacher and develop a reading routine at home. In most recent years, it’s hard to keep reading time at home sacred with so much technology available and all of our busy schedules. Developing a reading plan as a family and sticking to it will help your child become a more confident reader. Practicing anything is what helps you get better and stronger – just like with sports, music lessons, and dance. Deciding on a book series to read together is also a great way to engage as a family. Having conversations about books is incredibly powerful too! My best piece of advice is to stay connected with the teacher. Teachers can’t do their jobs without support at home. Be sure to ask for specific examples to help you understand your child as a reader and writer.
Tell us more about the services Hillel provides for families and children in their early years?
Hillel offers learning specialist support, occupational therapy, speech language, and social work support. We also have 2 certified teachers in every 1-5 classroom! We assess all learners in Kindergarten-8th grade to help identify students who need intervention and/or additional challenges. Our Director of Student Services oversees a team of learning support specialists who help students inside and outside of the classroom, both individually and in groups. This year we’re really fortunate to have added a speech and language therapist and an occupational therapist to our team. They have screened every Preschool 4s – 2nd grade student and are now addressing pre-literacy and pre-writing concerns so our students are able to develop skills on level with their peers.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
Growing up I went to every home Piston’s game with my dad and watched the Bad Boys win back to back championships. DEEEEETTTROOOIIT Basketball!
What made you decide to raise your family here?
I was born and raised here! I love to be surrounded by my family and can’t imagine not being close to them.
What’s your favorite family activity to do during the holiday?
I love to escape the cold and spend the time off with my family in Florida!
What are you and your family looking forward to in 2023? I honestly can’t believe I’m saying that.
A year of memories and experiences. I LOVE to make memories and every new year is a fresh opportunity to create those with both family, friends and my students.
What do you do to balance your own life and motherhood? What do you do for “me” time?
I wake up on school days before the world wakes up to take care of myself by working out! I am a huge Peloton fan and love being active! The time I spend working out or being outdoors allows me to have patience and clear my mind.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
My girls! I have the greatest friends ever and so grateful we all had kids around the same time. We lean on each other and have created a village of support (the good and the tough).
Contact Information for Julie:
Facebook: Julie Bean Tigay, Hillel Day School of Metro Detroit
Instagram: jtigay, hilleldayschool