Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 25 2011

How do we measure success?

In most lines of work there are clear measures of success. Banks measure success in terms of dollars, politicians in terms of votes, environmentalists in terms of trees(?). Educators are required to measure their success in terms of learning. Learning, however, is an easier term to say but significantly more difficult to define and measure. Do we consider a student’s performance in class, score on a test, ability to use skills in knowledge in the real world, or ability to explain a concept? As if measuring learning wasn’t a large enough task, educators are expected to teach students character, mindsets, lifestyles, socialization and a host of other difficult to measure “goals.” Clearly, the concept of learning is more extensive than we initially think.
I am dwelling on this today because I learned two of my student’s test scores from last year’s state examination. Both of these students were English Language Learner…

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Aug 26 2011

Some good news!

Today marks the end of week day, year two. This week could not have gone better. I have unbelievably smart, talented, and well behaved students. It is exciting to see low income students ahead rather than behind! Certainly it proves that all students can learn. Still, there is always work to be done. While many…

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Aug 23 2011

First Day; Round Two

Wow. What a first day. My students are fantastic. Not to say that my students last year weren’t fantastic, they were. Last year, however, they just took some coaxing. My students this year have clearly had high expectations set for them and know the drill of what it means to be a good student. It…

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I know it has been a while since I have posted, but I’m back now. First, an explanation of the hiatus. As you know, my school was closed down as part of a district-wide restructuring process known as Project Schoolhouse. The project was established to eliminate the thousands of vacant seats in some schools by…

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May 24 2011


Although I do not have results back from my students’ state tests, I do know their progress in reading: When I started this year 4% of my 11th grade students read at or above grade level. Now 33% of my students read at or above grade level. 89% made at least 1 year of progress…

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May 11 2011

New Schools

Last week the Tulsa Board of Education voted to close my high school. The Board based its decision in the fact that Rogers has been on the “Needs Improvement” list for 6 years. As our Superintendent of Secondary Schools stated this week, every year they have to decided to keep our school open and finally…

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Apr 28 2011

Let’s talk about race

Race, racism, racist. These three words pack a mighty punch in our world today. They are taboo- no one wants to discuss one, believe in another, or admit they are the third. Rather than candidly discussing these topics, we sweep them under the rug, thus, creating a society that believes we have moved past racism.…

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Apr 22 2011


After crying when a student stole my cell phone last week, crying when I had a disagreement with a coworker, and crying when security pepper sprayed a fight I was trying to break up, I cried today out of pride. One of my most frustrating students, Michael, turned in his first homework assignment. As if…

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Apr 03 2011

It begs the question

In Oklahoma students are required to pass their English II EOI test in order to graduate. My students are in my class because they failed the test as Sophomores and need extra help to pass the test as Juniors. It is my job to get them where they need to be so that they can…

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Mar 31 2011


Tulsa Public Schools announced this week its plans for school consolidation and closures. Under almost every scenario my high school will be closed to all current students. My students will leave their neighborhood school and be forced to pick from among Tulsa’s other failing schools. This news comes with a great deal of emotion much…

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a Teach For America teacher’s blog

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