Zainab Ali's Learning Story

Stories

My young immigrant parents came to the United States from Pakistan in hopes of achieving the American Dream, for the sake of opportunity. The emphasis on education ran deep though my family. My grandfather recognized that education is the only way to transcend poverty. He acted by putting numerous, underprivileged men through college and law school in Pakistan. He once … Read More

Ingrid Hu Dahl's Learning Story

Stories

I grew up in a space in-between. A mixed race child who predominantly spoke Mandarin and “Chinglish” until about the age of four or five, I remember having a really difficult time in school. I must have sensed the discrimination from the parking lot. Once my parents and I passed through the doors and into the hallways, I wanted to … Read More

Elijah Cummings' Learning Story

Stories

I often return to the site of my childhood elementary school in South Baltimore.As I sit there, next to railroad tracks and an elevated expressway, I thank God for the leaders, during the 1950s and 1960s, who showed their faith in us and invested in our future.For the children of our neighborhood, our teachers and parents were our Moses, leading … Read More

Chantale Soekhoe's Learning Story

Stories

In the fall of 2003, I started my junior year of high school with an 8th grade education level and a serious case of ‘broken home’ syndrome. I was a high school drop out about to enroll in GED classes when fate stepped in and led me to Urban Academy.

Heather Harding's Learning Story

Stories

Great teachers share one common goal the audacity to believe that children can and will go as far as ultimately capturing the mysteries of outer space. This audacity is woven in a memorable motto known as Pride. Pride…was the common thread that connected my classmates to our teachers. We were regular everyday children driven to succeed but because of countless … Read More

Maya Soetoro-Ng's Learning Story

Stories

Our mama taught us how to be simultaneously brave and pliant, and we found ourselves in this winning combination. Mama Annie was my only teacher for much of my childhood. She home-schooled me through several formative years spent in Central Java, my father’s birthplace. There I made note of the traditional preference that a woman not laugh too hard or … Read More

Rick Ackerly's Learning Story

Stories

I have a 40 year career worth of stories, and appreciate this site. “Blaming the Kids” wrongly protects the schools from appropriate blame. Of course, we shouldn’t blame the kids. Whose responsiblity is it that we are failing them? For a couple of decades I have heard it’s the parents. Our schools still suffer from a 19th Century notion of … Read More

Pamela Michaels' Learning Story

Stories

Mr. Ward created a 60-member chorus and a 60-member marching band from a small high school student body in a DOD (Department of Defense) school in Berlin, Germany, during the days of the ‘Cold War’ – and he did so in only 4-5 years’ time. Mr. Ward was from California, and for military kids who identified each other by the … Read More

Deborah Tonguis' Learning Story

Stories

‘To the world, you may only be one person, but to one person,you may be the whole world.’ Never was this quote truer than for one little girl’me. I attended six different elementary schools, moved twice during my junior high years and transferred into four different high schools. In the absence of extended family, teachers became my mentors. In the … Read More

J Ashwood's Learning Story

Stories

DREAM TEACHERS This year was very unique and it was something that we did not expect. Sixth grade was a challenge to us, because of the academic responsibilities that our teachers and parents expected of us. We had to keep up with school work and homework for three different teachers and as the seniors of the school we weren’t prepared … Read More