On my first day at Jordan High School the building was empty of students for teacher preparation day. For all intents and purposes, Jordan, when empty, is an ordinary school. It’s when I got to know the people involved in running this school that I came to realize this is much more than an ordinary school.
Prior to my service at Jordan, I had heard of its reputation and recent turnaround. During the 2011-12 school year, Jordan made a 93 point jump in its “Academic Performance Index.” This was the largest increase among traditional high schools in LAUSD. I had heard of the new, fantastic administration. I had heard of the great teaching staff.
Yet all of these accomplishments were surpassed by the negative feelings conceived in my mind. My expectation was that serving at Jordan was going to be nothing short of difficult.
In my first two weeks at Jordan, I learned how quickly expectations can be shattered. From working with a math teacher who has two masters’ degrees yet teaches high school because he wants to affect young people’s lives, to working with administrators who stop by our City Year room to make sure everyone is enjoying their day, the people that work within the walls of Jordan never cease to amaze me. The teaching staff and administration are filled with school pride and are committed to breaking through the misconceptions of their amazing school, and I am proud to be part of this effort.
I was nervous at first to meet the students of Jordan High School. The thought that stayed with me was, “what if they hate me?” I now have an answer to my question: no, thankfully, they do not hate me.
After interacting with students from a vastly different community than the one I grew up in, I have learned one thing for certain: we have a lot in common. They love to have fun. They are bright, energetic, curious students, and I wake up everyday excited to help them reach their goals.