Teacher Relocates Across the Country for Dream Job

September 30, 2015

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For fourth grade teacher Laura Strait, the opportunity to work at Aspire was so enticing, she relocated across the country to join the team at ERES Academy in Oakland. Strait, now in her fifth year with Aspire, was so inspired by what she saw on her visit to an Aspire campus that she decided to leave her east coast roots for the chance to learn from and work with some of the best in the field.

"I didn't even realize that a school culture like what I saw at Aspire existed," said Strait. "When I came out to visit, they said that every teacher had the support of a coach, weekly observations, and a new teacher rubric system they were piloting - none of which I had in Boston."

Having started her teaching career at a traditional public school in a Boston suburb, Strait was quickly disheartened by the lack of collaboration and support she received as a new teacher. That, combined with limited and ambiguous professional development opportunities, led Strait to seek out a decidedly different teaching environment.

"I learned more in my first week of professional development at Aspire than I did in my first four years of teaching on the east coast," said Strait.

Strait was awarded the Fishman Prize in 2014, a prestigious national honor that includes a $25,000 cash prize and an opportunity to participate in a 5-week summer residency program focused on exploring major educational issues with other award winners. This notable achievement, Strait said, was only possible for her because of the support she receives regularly from her colleagues and mentors at Aspire.

Strait plans to continue growing and developing as a professional with Aspire, and providing a safe, collaborative environment for all of her students.

"I love being a part of the Fruitvale community, all of our students are so amazing," said Strait. "I love the culture and the families that I get to see everyday. Our kids just thrive when everyone is working together."