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Working in Georgia: State, School, Team

Photo Courtesy of Lyssa Sahadevan

Blah, blah, blah! When I read newspaper articles regarding education, that is what goes through my head. It is very Charlie Brown teacheresque. It seems as though we are becoming a nation obsessed with the negative. Allow me to be the WAKE UP CALL! There are things going right in education my friends! In 2010, the State Department of Ed in Georgia reported a high school graduation gain of 17 percentage points compared to 2003. Georgia’s African-American students had a graduation rate of 75.8%, up more than 23 percentage points from 2003. The state’s Hispanic students had a graduation rate of 77.6%, up more than 29 percentage points from 2003. I’m not done! Georgia’s economically disadvantaged students raised their graduation rate to 76% in 2010, up more than 24 percentage points from 2003! I am willing to bet other states have similar growth. If not the entire state, individual counties for sure!

Wait…..there is more! Our school needed a before school tutoring program to help struggling readers. We had the teacher volunteers (teachers rock!) but needed the funds to provide materials. We wrote grants to the Target Foundation and Dollar General. We won the grants! Our program is in its second year and has expanded to include after school tutoring, too! Corporations are realizing their HUGE connection to schools and providing the support we need! If there is something your school needs, go for it! Grantwrangler.com is one place to start!

I have shared about my state (it is not perfect, but we are improving!) and my school (working together to do what is best for children) and now it is time for my team. That’s right-I am a teacher. An educator. A professional. A professor of all things first grade. Teachers are often not positively highlighted in the “blah, blah, blahs” I mentioned before. The reality is teachers are rock stars. I happen to work with nine of the best teachers on the planet. (The other teachers at my school are pretty awesome, too!) My team plans assessments, units, and beyond amazing events for our almost 200 first graders! Our time spent collaborating leads to powerful discussions about student progress. Being on the same page makes it easier for parents and students-not to mention teachers! Is this a piece of cake? NO WAY! We spend hours outside of school preparing our masterpieces. This is happening all across America! Teachers are going above and beyond to make learning meaningful and fun! So the next time you see a teacher, thank her! Give her a hug, a hot cup of coffee, an ice-cold lemonade, or a “thanks for teaching my kid” note!

Please know I am painfully aware of the struggles facing education. You can read about them in your newspaper. There are things that are going right in education though! You may have to dig a little deeper to find them-but they are there!

Lyssa Sahadevan is the mother to one adorable toddler son, a first grade teacher, 2011-12 Teacher of the Year, a blogger at mymommyreads.blogspot.com, and Georgia’s Mom Congress Delegate 2011.

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