On Thursday October 14, Sacramento Charter High School won a Pillar of Promise Award for “Excellence in the Commitment of Providing Effective Education”.

The award came from America’s Promise Alliance in conjunction with e:merge Coalition of Sacramento.  Alma and Colin Powell run the America’s Promise Alliance foundation, and through it named Sacramento one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People.”

Upon winning the award, Superintendent Ed Manansala spoke about the success of Sac High in sending graduates to respectable universities throughout the country such as Amherst, Bates, Duke, UCLA, Berkeley, UC Davis, MIT and NYU.  He spoke about the high expectations we maintain for our students, and how hard we work to ensure their success.

In attendance were several mayors and representatives of community groups.  Senator Darrell Steinberg gave a speech about the importance of education.  He congratulated all of the evening’s award winners on their the willingness to “do extra” for young people.  

The Pillar of Promise award trophy is heavy and made of glass and sits on the counter in the front office of Sacramento Charter High School.  It stands for the hard work and “extra” we all do for our kids every day.

The award also stands for the example St. HOPE sets for a national education system where 7,200 a day drop out of school.  The “extras” St. HOPE provides are life lines without which our students’ chances to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness would likely be lost in an Achievement Gap.

The world is a better place already because our students are in it, gaining the learning and skills they will need to be successful and of service to others. The award stands for the future service to the community that our own students will provide with the benefit of their St. HOPE education beginnings.

Perhaps the award also stands for that future when the “extra” that we have provided all along at St. HOPE will become the “expectation” for all school systems, everywhere.

WE WORK HARDER

PS7 addresses the needs of the entire student family through monthly parenthood meetings and various parent involvement opportunities including teacher appreciation and campus beautification, as well as on-campus volunteer hours.  There is a Parent Center in the works to further support families of students.

In regards to working hard it’s simply the expectation for all members of the PS7 family.  Hard work results in achievement and success and the adults, especially the staff, are the role models for the students.  If we don’t work hard how can we demand it of our students?
–Jim Scheible, Principal of PS7

Teachers do extra work every day for their students at St. HOPE.   Patrick Durant of the Sac High social studies department and his wife once took a student to visit an art gallery.  In May last year, he hosted his entire senior advisory for an end of the year celebration at his home.

Algebra 2 teacher Nick Freathy once tutored a former Sac High student over the phone for an hour in order to talk him through some difficult math problems he couldn’t get help on from anywhere else.  

Both Patrick Durant and Nick Freathy use the term “selfish reasons” when explaining their extra work on behalf of students.  They say there is nothing like seeing the light of understanding in a student’s eyes when he or she finally “gets it”.  There is nothing like bringing a student from a below grade-level ability to proficient or advanced in their own grade level.

Yes, we do work harder at St. HOPE.  We do “extra” in order to make sure our students succeed.   And they do.  Because of us, they do.

Every single person on this campus works hard and with the same focus in mind—growth and success. That vibe, which is easy to feel on campus, has a  rejuvenating effect on the soul.
—Ross Fernandes, Science Teacher and Advisory Lead at Sacramento Charter High School

The Best Advice to a New Teacher

Several St. HOPE educators were asked the question:  “What was the best advice you received as a new teacher?”  The first years of teaching are full of joys and frustrations and teachers hear all kinds of advice to help them along the way.  Here are the words of wisdom that have stuck with some of our most experienced teachers:

Don’t hyper focus on things that don’t matter.  Maybe spending four hours on a bulletin board display is not the best use of your time.  –Cristin Fiorelli, Director Triumph Center for Early Childhood Education

This is your classroom, it is not a democracy.  –Joshua Sullivan, social studies teacher at Sacramento Charter High School

Never give up on any kids.  –Penny Schwinn, Director of Student Achievement at Sacramento Charter High School

Treat the people who help you out very well.  –Kristen Coates, Middle School Lead Teacher at PS7

Being your authentic self is most important. Being genuine seems to be crucial.  –Will Jarrell, Principal of Sacramento Charter High School

Take time for yourself.  When the day is over, the day is over.   –Audria Johnson, Elementary School Lead Teacher at PS7

Be consistent. Kids need consistency.  Don’t bring your personal  life into the classroom and let it affect your daily practice.  Bring your best to them every day no matter what’s going on with you.   It’s about them.  –Janna Cantwell, science teacher at Sacramento Charter High School Students are resilient and forgiving, as should be the teacher – if you or they mess up, tomorrow is a fresh start.  —David Marks, science teacher at Sacramento Charter High School

The most important part of being a teacher is establishing genuine relationships and earning the trust of the students. If kids trusts you and know that you genuinely care for them, you can do anything and they will follow you anywhere you want to take them.
— Rich Haley, math teacher at Sacramento Charter High School

Never try to talk over the class.  Keep a low volume and wait until they are listening.

Let them see the real you…it’s ok to admit that you don’t know something.  –Jill Pellerin, English Department Lead at Sacramento Charter High School

Source: http://www.ydnetwork.org/emerge

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