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A Teacher Celebrates Hard Work
In my work I often have the occasion to talk with educators who are excited about teaching and learning, and eager to share some of the strategies they have implemented to impact student proficiency. The following letter provides a glimpse of one such teacher and her practice. It documents, in her own words, how Efficacy helped to create the powerful learning she and her students have experienced this year. Mrs. Stephanie Perry teaches sixth grade at Peres Elementary School located in the California Bay Area. She and her students are doing something worth noting, and she is an educator we want to hear more from as we look to the field to inform what works!
Director School & District Initiatives
Hi Dr. Scott!
I've been dying to write back again, but this school year has moved so fast, I just can't believe it! I was just thinking the other day about how a few years ago I went into your office completely upset that after all the work I put in, my kids did terrible on the CST. I remember you telling me, "It's just feedback. If you keep doing what you're doing, eventually it will come together." It seems just like yesterday. Well Dr. Scott...you were right! : ) This year everything has clicked.
This year I have learned SOOOOO much about being a highly effective teacher. I realize that your students can't really get any higher than you yourself are willing to go as a teacher. I realize that focused lessons with a very specific objective in mind is key in lesson planning. I realize that getting 100% of your students proficient IS possible, and I will no longer celebrate getting less than that. I've learned that when students know you are giving them high-quality teaching, they will follow you wherever you take them. I've learned that collaboration is a vital component and without it, it's very difficult to be a highly effective teacher. The list goes on and on. I'm sure all of this you yourself had learned many, many years ago, but I finally learned it this year. And I'm sure now you are probably smiling because you knew I'd get here eventually.
As a result of all I've learned, I've never been so excited in all my years of teaching. The vibe in my classroom is electric and contagious. My students infect me and I, in return, infect them. It's been CRAZY. I have students asking me to assign them extra writing assignments just so they can practice at home because they realize now that they can write, and do it well. My class in the last 3 weeks has read over 40,000 pages on their own!!!! We have a competition going right now. A few of us were reading a popular series and I finally got to the 5th and final book of the series. One student told me, "Mrs. Perry, that book is going to change your life." hahaha...
Another student wanted to abandon a book today after reading two chapters and three other boys all simultaneously yelled, "NO! You have to get past the 3rd chapter and it's really good! Don't give up yet!" The book is almost 400 pages and the boys that yelled have all read the two other in the series. It's amazing. I have the potential this year to have all (but 1...) score proficient in math this year. We were crunching to get through standards because of all the scaffolding from previous grade stuff so I made a proposal to them. It was to extend the school day until 3:30 for three weeks. They all agreed, got their parents to sign permission, and we've been doing double standards. They are asking me to teaching more complex algebra. A third of my class is doing 7th grade algebra. I'm giving you these examples just to point out that....WOW!!!
I could go on and on. I just had to share my excitement with you since you sat numerous hours listening to my frustration and agony! : ) UGH! It's been great and I really wish you could see it. I am a product of your fabulous leadership and I so appreciate you seeing something in me to give me a chance seven years ago!
I can still visualize the scene clearly: It was my 4th period Creative Writing class, and my students were rambling about the various neighborhood events more loudly and chaotically than normal.
On March 5, 2010, the headlines in the Chicago Tribune announced an astonishing accomplishment. The entire senior class at Chicago’s only public, male...
At Efficacy we love FADAF, the catchy acronym that stands for "Failure and Difficulty are Feedback."