In The News

Ms. Addona, English Teacher, Council Coach, and Teacher Leader

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Describe your path to working at People’s Prep. 

I majored in English and Theater Arts at Rutgers and got my master’s as a teacher of English from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. It was there that I really fell in love with teaching from all my professors who had been working with students and educators for decades and still have that passion. Then I got my first job at an independent charter school where I taught 9th- through 12th-grade theater and social justice. I found that I was most interested in not just working on my craft as a teacher but also helping other teachers who may be struggling in the classroom or need greater support. That led me to People’s Prep because they provided me with an opportunity to grow as a teacher but also to work with other teachers to help them have a greater impact in their classrooms. 

 

How have you grown as an educational professional since you’ve been at People’s Prep?

I’ve really benefited from the amount of professional development that’s built into our schedule. We get to see administrators and people with a lot of classroom experience model lessons, which has been invaluable. I’ve also had a coach observe me every single week at People’s Prep. They give me feedback about how to better my practice and how to work with students, and that’s a place where I’m continuously growing as a professional. I think it is very unique to People’s Prep that we’re observed to help us grow, not just for the sake of being evaluated. 

 

What work have you been doing on the ILT in your first year on the team?

As an instructional leader, I coach teachers by observing their classes and leading coaching meetings where I help them navigate challenges and improve their instruction. Another role I have is overseeing teachers’ physical spaces. My goal is to create organized, academic-centered classrooms that maximize student learning. Whether that means helping teachers create anchor charts, design a filing system for student work, or optimize classroom space, I’m their point person. Being on the Instructional Leadership Team has been incredibly rewarding because I’ve been able to extend my impact beyond my own classroom and create a supportive environment that enables both our teachers and students to grow.

 

People’s Prep was just renewed by the state for five more years. What is your experience with the renewal process both at People’s Prep and in other schools that you’ve worked at in the past? 

It’s a lot of preparation for one day to showcase what we do day in and day out. The teachers, administrators, and staff in our school put in so much hard work. We get to see the growth of our students every day. We set big goals for them, so the renewal process is a chance for us to share their successes. It’s a huge day and one that we put a lot of effort and work into preparing but, ultimately, it’s the work that we do every day that shows what kind of school we are. 

 

How do you see People’s Prep helping you achieve your professional goals going to continue to grow?

People’s Prep has not only helped me grow my craft as a teacher but also to coach other teachers and work with a teaching partner to create a curriculum for English 3. I’m around so many people who are passionate about what they do, and I get to explore the different avenues I’d like to take within school leadership whether that is the avenue of a principal or curriculum director. What I really love about People’s Prep is that they gave me an opportunity to be on the Instructional Leadership Team and to grow in that capacity to learn directly from our school leaders. I really appreciate that there is room for growth, which I find doesn’t always exist in other places. 

 

Now that People’s Prep has just been renewed, what do you think that this means for the students and families of Newark? 

For our current students, it means that there’s no disruption to their education and they’re going to be provided with a quality education that supports them through and beyond college. I also think that our school provides a very unique opportunity for students to attend a school that is focused on ensuring that every single student attends and is successful in college. Having that option for parents is really important in Newark. The more choices parents have, the better Newark’s entire school district is because students are going to the schools where they have their best chance to be successful.