“Opportunities to learn and thrive should exist in all communities, regardless of socioeconomic status. I chose to become a teacher to provide students like me with a rigorous and inspiring educational experience.”
95 percent of last year’s seniors at the UCLA Community School in Koreatown plan to attend college. Before the school opened in September 2009 and the high school opened in 2010, only one-third of the high school graduates in the area now served by the school went on to attend college. Now, as the school celebrates its fifth anniversary, that percentage has increased almost threefold.
In June, the first group of seniors who spent all four years at the high school graduated. Of them, 95 percent plan to attend college this fall, more than half were admitted to four-year schools (up from 13 percent in 2009) and one-quarter were admitted to UC campuses (up from 4 percent).
The quality of teacher training will be crucial to the success of the new Common Core State Standards in math, educators say, and the pressure is on districts to give elementary school teachers the skills they’ll need to provide students with a firm foundation in early arithmetic.
It is Tan’s belief in the innate ability of his students and his combination of tough love and raising the bar that earned him the 2013 Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching from Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.