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Promise Community Schools:
Starting the School Year Off Right!

Operating six campuses in three locations throughout Houston, Neighborhood Centers’ Promise Community School District was just acknowledged as a Texas Honors Circle District Award Winner by Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Susan Combs. The award recognizes the district for reaching the highest level of student achievement, coupled with responsible fiscal management.

The success of our district is a reflection of student commitment, parent involvement, and dedicated teachers who have made education a priority for the community. October is national teacher’s month, and we would like to acknowledge one teacher in particular who is making a big difference in the lives of children at Baker-Ripley Promise Community School.

Meet Jeff Ward.

Third grade teacher Jeff Ward had not originally planned to become a teacher. Motivated by mission work he had done in Uruguay while completing his degree in Political Science at Brigham Young University, Jeff knew that he wanted to help others.

He applied for and was accepted into the competitive Teach for America program which places highly talented recent college graduates in low-income communities for two-year teaching commitments. In 2009, Jeff was placed at Baker-Ripley Promise Community School through the program.

Originally from Dallas, Jeff was amazed by the diversity of Houston’s Gulfton/Sharpstown neighborhoods which is reflected in his own class. "You don’t realize how many different nationalities there are in this neighborhood until you experience it first hand," says Jeff. "In my class alone I have students from Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, Nepal, India, and Sudan."

Many students in Jeff’s class and throughout Baker-Ripley’s Promise Community School have limited English proficiency. These students have to work that much harder to succeed in a language that is not their native one.

One of Jeff’s proudest moments was when his whole class came together and not only passed, but received exemplary status on their TAKS tests.

"Throughout the school year, I knew that we would have to push hard to get that recognition, and it became not only a goal for me and the principal, but for the whole class.

The students were really invested in doing well on the test. We were all so proud of what we accomplished together."

There can be challenges that face the students in our Promise Community Schools on a daily basis, but teachers like Jeff believe in each student’s potential and work to give them the skills they need to continue to grow and succeed.

We salute all the teachers, staff, and administrators in the Promise Community Schools and say ‘thank you’ for the work that you are doing.

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