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How A Teacher Turned Disappointment Into Triumph For One Scholar

Dear NYT Editor,

I would like to see the Times spend a few days at Success Academy Williamsburg, where my daughter attends fourth grade, so a reporter could see the magic that happens there daily.

Every day, my daughter comes home and we discuss her day at school. She always has a story for me, and recently she told me an inspiring story. In her grade, students have been taking assessments that measure their academic growth. She told me how well she scored on a recent assessment, but that a classmate teared up with disappointment because she did not do as well as she had expected. I asked my daughter how she responded; she said her teacher, Mr. Stanford, who is amazing, praised the girl’s effort, hard work, and commitment to excellence. He did not belittle her. He did not reprimand her. Instead, he empathized with her and explained that her growth and improvement were in fact a success. He told her how proud he was of her and that she should be proud of herself. He asked if she realized how much she has grown academically and when she answered yes, he clapped for her. My daughter said that she and her classmates then joined him in clapping for her.

Mr. Stanford took a moment of disappointment and vulnerability — something that we all feel every now and again, even as adults — and turned it into a moment of confidence, self-awareness, and accomplishment. This is the Success Academy I know, and the Success Academy I wish you knew.

This is my daughter’s third school; she previously attended a Catholic school and a magnet public school — both outstanding — but Success Academy has been the best experience for her. Her teachers are phenomenal. They are invested in her almost as much as I am. They call to follow up when she is sick and they call to tell me when she did something amazing. It’s more than teaching; it’s co-parenting. The staff is like an adoptive second family. They are selfless people who truly love my child unconditionally and want her to succeed in life, both emotionally and academically.

I hope that when you write your next article you remember my daughter and this story.

Best Regards,
Isha Rodriguez-Aviles
SA Williamsburg Parent

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Written by Isha Rodriguez-Aviles March 7, 2016

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