B is for Blast Off

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 03 2011

B is for “Beat the Test”

It has been two months since my last post, and my mood has improved considerably.  I went on a cute mini-vacation with my roommate to Mendocino, California (a tiny bed-and-breakfast town on the Pacific coast), visited a childhood friend in Seattle who lives on her sailboat, and road-tripped to Los Angeles last weekend.  I am desperately looking forward to moving to Los Angeles for the summer, where I will be on staff at the Teach for America training institute as a School Operations Manager.

The theme of the last few months has been a constant “Beat the Test!”  Unfortunately, state standardized tests loom large for our students.  Their scores are the results upon which the status of Rocketship Education hinges.  In some ways, their scores are their loudest voices and votes in local politics.  As such, we focus on test preparation and test-taking skills in a huge way.  The RMS faculty crafted an entire narrative based on the “evil test-takers,” and our students pledged not to be tricked by their crafty ways.  We held an awesome spirit week complete with daily skits and chants.  When the time came to buckle down and take the tests, my kids excelled.  Many of them came through in ways I could not have imagined.  Confidence and preparation led to amazing results!

I’m looking forward to truly being in a celebratory mood when school ends.  Unfortunately, the anxiety of finishing the school year, final assessments, moving to a new house, and preparing for the summer is overwhelming how much I have achieved this year.  I recently found out that I was accepted into Rocketship’s Emerging Leaders Program and am on track to become a principal in several years.  I started a marathon training program with San Jose Fit and have completed all of our Saturday long runs, the most recent of which have been longer than any other distance I have ever run!  Finally, I applied for and was accepted to teach an after-school engineering program called Techbridge to our 5th grade girls next year.  I am spread thin, but I feel truly grateful for the professional and personal development that has occurred this year.

Here’s to more frequent blogging and warmer Bay Area weather!

For the Kids,


P.S. An unquestionable highlight in the past month was attending my student’s dance performance at the Stanford Powwow.  Peter is a member of the Sioux Tribe and a junior grass dancer.  His regalia is completely authentic, including an eagle feather and porcupine quill headdress.

One Response

  1. Jamie

    Hi there, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog!

    I was recently accepted into TFA and received my first choice for placement: the Bay Area. As I’m sure you remember, they give you just 2 weeks to make one of the biggest decisions and commitments of your life. As thrilled as I am to be accepted (I applied the first deadline, so I knew I really wanted to do this), I do also have some very real concerns about the program and questions about the Bay. My main concern at this point is whether 5 weeks of Institute will prepare me adequately.

    I’m sure you’re extremely busy, but if you have time and could drop me a line at jamievog@usc.edu – I would greatly appreciate it because I do have a few questions about your personal experiences. If you don’t have time, I completely understand. Your blog alone has been so helpful!

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About this Blog

Bailey Thomson, Bay Area Corps Member 2010

Bay Area
Elementary School

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