Why do you think educators are so important right now?
With the teacher shortage across our nation, students are in need of highly qualified teachers. Teachers are crucial in every child’s development as the adult they spend most of their hours in a day with. Teachers are arguably the most important members of our society and aside from parents and guardians really shape a child’s life and instill ideas, morals, and values that they will carry with them throughout their lives.
What makes this program so special?
Our foundation that is cemented in Culturally Responsive Teaching. Students need solid, loving, and trusting relationships with their teachers, and that is not only something we truly believe allows them to succeed but is also proven through brain-based research. Our coaches then continue this unique development of our teachers during their first year of teaching to ensure each classroom is an emotionally safe, collaborative, and inviting environment every single student can thrive in.
What keeps you motivated in this work?
As a New Orleans native and product of Orleans Parish Public Schools I was motivated by my teachers to become a teacher and school administrator. While our schools are in a much better place since Katrina there is still work to be done to ensure every single student in this city receives an equitable education. This city is my home, and its bright, promising future lies within the children who attend our city’s public schools.
What does justice in education mean to you?
Students not privileged enough to receive an education on par with more privileged students are given a poor foundation for the rest of their lives. Namely students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, students with mild to moderate disabilities, and English language learners are the students who have less access than their white, more affluent peers. This harsh reality is what we must work to undo. Every single student deserves to attend a school that puts a highly qualified teacher in their classroom. That is the first step in ensuring we work towards dismantling the injustice experiences our students receive across our country.
What impact have you seen this program have on the community?
Since it’s inception in 2007, teachNOLA has been rooted in training dedicated teachers to work in schools all across our city in its unique 100% charter school landscape. Our network of outreach stretches all across the city of New Orleans and without a doubt you’ll be able to find at least one teacher in every school that has some tie to teachNOLA.