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First Grade Super Scholars

  • Heather Beckman ’19
August 13, 2018

Did you know that most students lose an average of two to three months of learning over the summer months? It’s called the summer learning slide, and research shows that it takes four to six weeks for teachers to get students caught up in the fall. It is also notable that the learning slide is more substantial for our students living in low-income environments. This summer I am helping to close this gap by serving as a teacher at one of the 19 summer school sites in Milwaukee and Racine hosted by the Center for Urban Teaching, Inc. (CfUT). CfUT is a Christian non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to identify, prepare, and support high-performing urban teachers and leaders. This summer, I have been blessed with the opportunity, thanks in part to the Jan Tarble Scholarship Foundation, to participate in this program and positively impact students in Racine, while also gaining invaluable profession development, coaching, instruction, and opportunities to grow as a future educator.

I am blessed to be part of this program and to be used by God to serve these students this summer through academic, emotional, and spiritual support and development. It is exciting to see God working in the hearts of students and teachers within this program throughout communities and schools in Milwaukee and Racine. Learning from my past experiences working with Inner City Impact in Chicago, God has given me a passion for those in need, especially for the misunderstood, marginalized, and underprivileged youth in cities such as Milwaukee, which has one of the highest racial divides in the country. God has provided the opportunity for me to live for him in an urban environment this summer. By working through the rigorous CfUT program, I will be trained and equipped to be an effective and caring urban teacher, and be better able to love, inspire, and challenge my students to know God and love others, while also thriving academically. There is a great need for good teachers in urban environments, and more importantly, for good role models who represent the love and grace of Jesus Christ to those around them. Join this cause and support God’s work in Milwaukee and Racine through your prayers and support. The next generation of urban leaders will thank you!

From the first few weeks of June, I have been preparing to teach a group of special scholars in the community of Racine, at HOPE Christian School; VIA. After intensive training, instruction, practice, and coaching sessions, I began my summer school journey teaching first grade. Our summer school theme is ‘Superheroes’ resulting in songs, dances, chants, props, and a classroom culture revolving around my scholars’ favorite superheroes and paraphernalia. By participating in such an intensive program, my scholars and I strive for very high academic achievements so that they are each prepared with a strong foundation when the go into first grade in the fall. While this may seem tedious, by having extreme energy and constantly moving forward, we are able to incorporate lots of fun themes and positive framing, as well as character development and team building, so that my first grade scholars can have fun and grow in character, while also striving to reach high academic goals.

Thanks to the generosity of Jan Tarble and her family, I have been so blessed to serve, learn, and grow as an educator through this CfUT program rather than mindlessly power through a different job outside of my field in order to receive money to pay for college. I am so grateful to be able to work and pay for my college tuition, while also gaining vital and life-changing experiences by teaching through a CfUT Summer School.

Writer

Heather Beckman ’19