Fifth-grade teacher Shalini Sharma taught in her native India before bringing her talents for education to America in 2007. At Friendly House Academia del Pueblo, an elementary charter school in south central Phoenix, Sharma provides the rigor and expectations that lead to student success. The positive results are exceptional.
Sharma volunteered to take over the fifth-grade class in her school when it struggled to see measurable academic gains. She believed that she could reverse the trend. With her guidance, AIMS Reading scores went from 55% in 2013 to 76% in 2014. Math AIMS scores increased from 26% in 2013 to 62% in 2014. Additionally, throughout the year, math benchmark scores soared in proficiency from 39% in the beginning of the year to 82% in the third quarter—a 43 percent increase. Reading benchmark scores went from 79% to 90% during that same timeframe. She moved two of her special education students up two grade levels.
Students know exactly what Sharma expects from them. Her own tenacity and belief in their abilities inspire them to work hard and expect the best from themselves. Students are pushed to think deeply and to exhibit a high level of maturity and conduct; substitute teachers and specialists routinely comment that Sharma’s students are the best behaved, and not a moment is wasted in her classroom. At science fairs and math nights, the high-quality projects from Sharma’s class stand out from the crowd.
Sharma has a gift for leadership and is acknowledged by parents and colleagues to be a supportive presence. She is always willing to help, such as tutoring Spanish-speaking parents in English after school. As lead mentor teacher for the 4th/5th Professional Learning Community team, she introduces best practices that support student achievement. Sharma’s team spirit, strong work ethic and unflagging belief in every child’s ability to learn and thrive give her students the motivation and confidence to achieve at high levels.
"I believe in hard work. Whatever endeavor you choose to do in life you can do more than you think. I believe that everybody's lives..." (read more)
Apr 14, 2015
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