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JANELLE SMITH

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Why did you become an educator?

Throughout middle school, I attended schools with lackluster teachers and limited resources that did little to close academic achievement gaps between us and our peers from well-performing and non-inner city schools. My passion for reading and writing compelled me to apply to and attend a charter high school. It was there that I met Mr. Hill.

Mr. Hill taught history. He did so with passion, conviction, and love. He created engaging lessons, taught with purpose, and made himself available to every student. Most importantly, he believed in us. He made trucking the two-hour journey to school each day worth it. Through him, I learned that my history– who I was, where I came from, the obstacles I faced along the way– did not have to hinder my future. Mr. Hill inspired me to pursue a future in education and one built on perseverance and principle.

My interest in becoming an educator was based solely on my commitment to service and my desire to give back. I firmly believe that every child deserves access to a great education. One’s race, economic or geographical status should never be a hindrance to that end. Children deserve to be taught by people who care and are supportive of their needs, both inside and outside of the classroom. They deserve advocates who will fight for their future just as Mr. Hill fought for mine.

“I firmly believe that every child deserves access to a great education. One’s race, economic or geographical status should never be a hindrance to that end.”

As a teacher, I aim to be a champion for change in the fight against educational inequality. I am able to work diligently to give to students what Mr. Hill gave to me– hope. Hope and the belief that as long as you work hard enough, no dream is unattainable.

What do you love about your school?

I love how passionate and committed my fellow staff members are to ensuring that they are giving students the very best education. I am also appreciative of the fact that leadership makes it a point to acquire feedback from both teachers and staff to ensure that we are providing a truly supportive environment. Lastly, I love each and every one of my students. They truly make my work worth doing.

Why is it important that lower income-children can attend schools of choice?

It is important that lower-income children attend schools of choice for one simple reason – access to resources. When inner-city students are bound by geographic or other boundaries to a school, they are restricted to limited access to resources in the form of a lack of dedicated teachers, technology, textbooks, etc. Being able to attend a school of choice provides parents the opportunity to have access to a vast amount of resources and to also choose a school that meets their child’s cultural and other demographic and/or personal needs. Parents deserve the right to choose the best school for their children since a sound education is a pathway to future success.

BECOME A VOICE FOR CHOICE
BECOME A VOICE FOR CHOICE