Four and a half years ago, Katherine Yabut moved from New Jersey to teach early elementary school in the Maryvale community of Phoenix. As the daughter of two Filipino immigrants, Katherine has always been deeply passionate about education. Her parents overcame substantial odds, including abject poverty in the Philippines, to receive scholarships in college which led them to come to the United States. Because of this, Katherine’s parents instilled in her the importance of education, which led her to pursue her passion of teaching here in Arizona.
When she began as a teacher here, she remembers, “realizing the true need in Arizona. I was honestly quite shocked at how different it was from my public education in New Jersey.” Since then, Katherine has been driven by ensuring that her scholars have the same opportunities that she had throughout her educational career.
Discovering the Power of OneTeacher After 3 Years in the Classroom
After teaching in the Maryvale community of Phoenix for three years, Katherine was drawn to OneTeacher, largely because of the organization’s mission and approach. She “really wanted to be part of a community that was committed to closing the achievement gap in Title I schools, and I wanted to see if there were organizations out there that were truly aligned to that mission.” Katherine loved that OneTeacher matched candidates to achievement-focused, Title I schools, and she was excited by our focus throughout the interview process on her “why” and mindsets around closing the achievement gap. When the OneTeacher team spoke with Katherine, the OneTeacher team knew they had a match at one of their amazing partner schools for her! The team at OneTeacher connected Katherine directly to Vista College Prep, and after completing additional interviews as well as a sample lesson, she joined the team as a founding second-grade teacher at Vista College Prep’s Maryvale campus.
Teaching at a School with Committed Teachers & Administration
While Katherine has been a teacher in the Maryvale community for several years now, she hasn’t seen truly dramatic results for students on a school-wide level until this year at Vista College Prep. When she first visited, she was “completely blown away by the sheer commitment that not only teachers, but administration, support staff, and really everyone on campus had to ensure that the scholars were successful.” The school has a very clear mission of ensuring that each and every scholar is held to high expectations so they can make not just academic growth, but above average academic growth and that they are not meeting, but exceeding expectations.
This year, Katherine has begun to truly realize her goal of ensuring students receive incredible opportunities because of their education. The difference that she’s seen with the same scholars, in the same community, between her previous years teaching and this one has been astounding. She recently had one parent tell her that she didn’t recognize her own daughter, one of Katherine’s students. Last year, “she was terrified by school and was biting her nails down due to nerves. This year, she’s raising her hand all the time and made the equivalent of one year’s growth in literacy in just two months.” Katherine notes that in other school environments, everyone may have the best of intentions, but the mechanisms to lead students to academic success weren’t as focused. This year, the 2nd grade average growth at Vista College Prep’s Maryvale campus has been nearly two years! For Katherine, “it’s amazing to be part of literally changing the trajectory of my students and families’ lives starting in 2nd grade. Everything we do is intentional and geared towards moving kids towards success and to college and beyond.”
Teaching in a School Environment You Love
Vista College Prep is the kind of school Katherine has always envisioned herself working in. The focus on closing gaps, having high expectations for students, and meeting the needs of the Maryvale community with the support from her school team to do these things has given Katherine so much hope for her students and their future.
This connection wouldn’t have been possible without the skilled matchmakers at OneTeacher. The team’s ability to deeply understand the needs of the their partner schools and understand what makes teachers like Katherine “tick” allows them to match incredible educators with amazing Title I schools for the ultimate benefit of students.
If you’re ready to find your “perfect match” school like Katherine, contact the matchmakers at OneTeacher today to learn more about our teacher placement services!
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