So because my school is low performing, the city has granted us a few million dollars to spend on a non-profit organization to help us increase student achievement. We were paired with Johns Hopkins University which in turn has brought in a Diplomas Now team. I believe we have about 8-10 young adults walking around with red vests and jackets that help our freshmen in various areas such as tutoring, attendance, mentoring, accountability, etc. They’re extremely vibrant and encouraging, and are very helpful. It’s always pleasant to have conversations with them because they genuinely care for our freshmen.
What’s also been great is that they sometimes do things for us teachers, such as provide breakfast for special occasions, like Pi-Day. Last week my school had its annual state visit in which we would be evaluated in various areas of our pedagogy to show growth from the previous year’s visit. The day before, the Diplomas Now team provided us breakfast and hung up student appreciation messages around the teacher’s work lounge. It was quite touching and extremely encouraging and uplifting, providing a much needed boost to our morale.
I was fortunate enough to receive six notes of appreciation from my two freshman classes. I normally get the sense that I’m not an impressionable teacher, but I suppose I’m doing something right this year. They’re really a good bunch this year, the most enjoyable group I’ve had yet. I informed my students that I now know what the others think of me who didn’t write me a message, and that such will be reflected on their next report card grades…lol. Of course for safety and legal purposes, their names have been erased.