Teach For America alum Shandrea Hardeman (Las Vegas Valley ’11) refers to her classroom as a beehive. And her students, she says, are curious, energetic, and hardworking kids who hang onto every word of the day’s lesson.
“If you came in and just watched,” she says, “you’d see 25 students buzzing around with an intense focus on completing the task at hand.”
Teach For America alum Kaylona Scott (Charlotte ’14) describes her students at Ashley Park Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina as intelligent, outgoing, and charismatic. And as Ms. Park goes into her third year of teaching she hopes to encourage her students to change the world despite the challenges they face in their lives.
“My scholars are faced with huge obstacles that begin outside of school,” she says. “I am often faced with the challenge of creating an environment that is consistent, comfortable, and engaging.”
The kids at Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley, California love to read. They also love to laugh.
“We check out over 600 books a week,” Emerson Elementary librarian and Teach For America alum Zoe Uran Williams (Greater New Orleans ’95) says. “The library is a vibrant place where kids are able to find books that reflect their interests and tastes. We want everyone to find a book they love every time they visit the library.”
“Last year I got a taste of the engagement that overtakes students when they are provided with exciting new technology,” says Teach For America alum Windy Ford (Mississippi Delta ’01). With just a few Chromebooks, her students at Sitton Elementary School in Portland, Oregon were able to improve their reading skills, access extra instructional materials for help in math, and develop a strong passion for writing.
“Students were not only excited to write more with the Chromebooks,” Mrs. Ford says, “but these devices also allowed students to share their work with teachers and peers, to get the feedback needed to strengthen their composition and to produce impactful writing pieces.”
For Teach For America corps member Leah Barsanti (Miami-Dade ’15), it’s important that her students at Horace Mann Middle School continue striving for success and become 21st-century learners.
Technology, of course, will play a vital role in this pursuit. And even though Horace Mann Middle is considered the district’s “technology magnet,” its students are only allotted two hours a month for computer-based learning.
Collaboration, honesty, excellence, effort, and respect all play an important role in helping students at Roseville Community Charter School in Newark, New Jersey achieve academic success, says Teach For America corps member Briana Hall (New Jersey ‘16).
“They are in need of love and support to push them into a realm of success,” Ms. Hall says of her students. “Our mission is to prepare EVERY student for academic excellence in high school, college, and beyond.”
“For my students to continue to grow I need to provide a welcoming and abundantly resourced environment,” Teach For America corps member Blake Lyle (Baltimore ’15) says. “My students not only need this from me, but they deserve to have a first-rate classroom!”
Mr. Lyle’s second-grade students at KIPP Harmony Academy in Baltimore are diverse learners and achieve at high levels thanks to their hard work and determination. And in order to keep them engaged, Mr. Lyle understands that he has to provide opportunities for movement within the small confines of his special education classroom.