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Stronger Retention, Stronger Outcomes

This year, more than 77% of PAVE Elementary School staff, and 100% of PAVE Elementary and Middle School Leadership Teams returned for the 2017/18 School Year. Here, two veteran faculty members share why they love working at PAVE.

Interview with Asheka James, 18-19 Academic Dean

How would you describe the community of teachers?

“It is a really tight-knit group. My fellow teachers are more than just coworkers. They are true friends. We give each other shout-outs through the day and formally in writing every week. We know how tough teaching is and every day can seem overwhelming. When you see a teacher doing a great job, you know how hard they are working. The culture of shout-outs lift the whole community.”

What is your favorite subject to teach?

“I love to teach math because I become a facilitator through the investigatory and hands-on work the students do. My favorite part is watching the discourse. Kids will ask each other, “Why did you decide to add 10?” when trying to solve a problem. It becomes a classroom of everybody teaching each other.”

How have you grown as a teacher?

“I get to go to wonderful professional development — especially “Math in the City.” It has really taken my teaching to a different level. I was empowered to learn and PAVE empowered me to share what I learned with my colleagues. It’s made me more of a leader.”

PAVE Scholar Prepares for Freshman Year at Stuyvesant High School

This year, only 33 Hispanic students got into Stuyvesant, New York’s most selective public high school, out of 895 spots. PAVE’s Mary Aragon is one of them. 

Why do you want to go to Stuyvesant?

When I was researching different high schools, I saw how well the students at Stuyvesant did. 97% of students go to college. I decided to set it as a goal to get in. 

How did you prepare for the Specialized High School Admissions Test?

I attended bi-weekly test prep classes, led by two PAVE teachers after school. If I had any questions, I would ask and I felt very supported. On a high school tour, we were given two practice tests. I took them and then studied the questions I had missed to understand what had gone wrong.

What drives you to work so hard?

I am driven by the way society looks immigrants and people of color in general. I want to prove myself, my family and my country, Mexico. 

What is your favorite subject? 

My passion is math and at PAVE, the teachers have helped me pursue it. For example, while other students were studying the regular math curriculum, my 6th grade math teacher Ms. Callahan would always would show me more advanced concepts. I was able to be pushed.

What do you love about PAVE?

I love being friends with students from all different backgrounds and the diverse community. I am also grateful for my teachers. 

Why I Teach at PAVE

Interview with Harold Turner, Middle School Dean of Humanities

Why work at PAVE?

“I love the intimate feel at PAVE and the flexibility. We can meet individual challenges and be nimble about solutions. At PAVE, the kids are incredibly dynamic and have so much to offer. The potential here is amazing. And Red Hook is a small and unique community. Communication looks different here than it does in other big urban schools because everyone knows each other, is somehow connected and they are looking out for each other.”

What do you love about your work?

“I love coaching people and working with them on problem solving. If there is text that is confusing to kids or teachers have trouble analyzing content, I really like sitting down and troubleshooting. I like having a bird’s-eye view of the school culture, content and instruction. I get excited thinking about what we can do as a school to solve problems.”

What makes the Middle School leadership team special?

“We all have common vision. We have an end goal: that students be the best they can. We are also straight up with each other and can have tough conversations. We can authentically celebrate and also push back on each other. We all understand it’s coming from the same place — how best to serve the kids. At the end of the day, we are fundamentally about service to the students.”

What are you most proud of at PAVE?

“Last year, I designed and wrote a 25-page document on our independent reading program. It shows every teacher the purpose of independent reading and what it should look like down to the smallest detail. It is really actionable and practical. It was a passion project.”

How do you push yourself to grow?

“I am currently enrolled in a specialized Masters Degree program at Teacher’s College on Curriculum and Teaching Leadership.”

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