School: Balch Springs Middle School
The community in which I teach has a 6% rate of college completion. Knowing this unsettling statistic has caused me to put college readiness at the forefront of every lesson I teach. In addition to the college posters and banners I have covering my walls, I have weekly college spotlights where we learn about different schools through virtual tours and college fact sheets. My students begin to develop a level of comfort around talking about college so that it becomes an attainable goal rather than a distant dream. Additionally, I reached out to a Dallas-based non-profit called Education Opens Doors, which provides my students with college knowledge workbooks and weekly lessons on every step of the application process. Through this program my students are able to explore resume writing, financial aid options, and application essay tips as well as plan a rigorous schedule for high school and calculate their GPA and class rank. At the end of the year, the students are able to take home their college workbooks to use as a resource in high school when they are applying to college. Lastly, I build skills in my classroom that are necessary for success in high school and college. They learn the importance of persistence and hard work so that they know how to handle difficult situations in a successful way. They learn how to keep themselves organized and to complete assignments on time. They write very well-constructed essays and are consistently analyzing texts at a high level.