Jamilla Rice believes in active education. As English department chair and AP English teacher at Northside Urban Pathways Charter School in Pittsburgh, PA, her proactive approach to learning has made a big impact on both students and fellow educators. Rice's AP students learn to appreciate language inside the pages of books and outside the confines of the classroom. When Rice and her students were upset by a neighborhood safety issue, they took on a special assignment to use cameras to document the problem and, as a group, co-wrote a formal letter to local government representatives with suggested solutions. And rather than waiting to speak to parents at school-sponsored parent teacher nights, Rice takes the initiative to speak with parents bi-weekly about their students' progress. At Northside Urban Pathways, 81 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-lunch programs-making a college education a challenge for many- but all of Rice's students have been accepted into colleges for the past two years. Every one of Rice's 11th grade students has scored proficient or advanced on Pennsylvania state exams. Rice also finds time to share her experience with other teachers. She has been a presenter at many prestigious academic conferences, such as the Pennsylvania Coalition of Charter Schools conference, National Council of Teachers of English annual conference, and Pennsylvania Governor's Institute of English Language Arts Educators.
1994 Hampton University, B.A.