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Applicant and School Narrative

My name is Ms. Bustamante, and this is my third year teaching 8 th grade general

science/biology at Taylor Jr. High school located in Mesa, Arizona. I completed my degree in

secondary education with an emphasis on the biological Sciences at Arizona State University.

While in college, I took courses in all areas of the life sciences including biology, microbiology,

anatomy and physiology, vertebrate zoology, and ecology. As an undergraduate not only did I

get to work alongside one of my professors to do research on the quality of soil, but I also got to

work as a TA and teach a couple of the general biology labs. For these reasons, I consider myself

to be an individual that is not only passionate, but also knowledgeable in the life sciences.

In my classroom, I would like to not only deliver information to my students but have

them be advocates of their own knowledge as well. I want them to learn about the science of life

and have them make real world connections with the knowledge they obtain. In a classroom,

students are the key players and teachers are just the facilitators of knowledge. The acquisition of

new content is no longer in the hands of the faculty member, it is in the hands of the learners. It

is up to them to work hard and do something with the knowledge they are provided with in order

to become successful. Students need to be active participants in the classroom, they need to ask

questions, engage with the material being taught, and make connections of their learning to the

real world.

I will allow for my students to take charge of their learning and focus on incorporating

project-based learning into my class as much as possible. I believe that one learns best by

making mistakes and figuring things out for themselves. Overall, my goal is to not only teach

pupils, but to have them be proactive in their learning. I will equip them with the tools that are

necessary so that they can go out into the world and make their own impact.

I was lucky enough to attend a high school that had a one to one technology initiative. All

students were assigned a laptop and were allowed to take it home but were required to take it

back to school every day. This created a positive impact because the school provided students

with technology that helped supplement their learning. Not having access to a computer was no

longer an excuse for not completing homework. Teacher’s took advantage of the technology to

enhance their teaching and make lessons more interactive. Having had that experience myself, I

would like to move towards a classroom that incorporates technology more. I have experienced

the positive impact of having access to technology and that is something that I would like for my

students to experience as well. While I do not know all there is to know about technology, I am

willing to learn more and take classes in order to become better equipped to incorporate

technology into my classroom.

School Narrative

Taylor Jr. High is one of 11 junior high schools located in Mesa, Arizona. Mesa is a city

in the east valley with an average income of between 50,000 and 74,999 dollars (ProximityOne,

2009). The school district is predominantly white. 65.2% of the population is white, 23.4% of the

population is Hispanic, and the remaining population is composed of African American, Native

American, Asian, and other races. Within this population, those 25 years and older, 28.4% are

high school graduates and 14.8% hold a bachelor’s degree (ProximityOne, 2009). This is lower

when compared to data from the U.S. Census Bureau which states that 33.4% of Americans 25

years of age or older have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher (Wilson, 2017). This means

that students in the district may not be receiving additional academic support at home.

Further narrowing down the characteristics of the district to just those of the school, 52%

of the 1,110 students identify as Hispanic and 37% identify as white. When it comes to

academics, 33% of Taylor’s students scored as proficient or higher in math and 31% in reading.

Compared to the city’s averages of 46% in math and 45% in reading. In this student population,

70% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch which is 19% more than the city’s average.

The school was recently named the most-improved public middle school in Mesa as it rose from

a C+ rating to a B according to data from Niche (Back to class, 2019). Their improvement is in

alignment with their vision which is to provide an exceptional educational experience for all

students and their mission which is “to provide a creative and purposeful educational opportunity

in a collaborative community of respect and support. We value raising academic achievement by

educating the whole child, including meeting social emotional needs” (Taylor Jr. High, 2019).

This project will be implemented in my 4 th hour honors science class which has 24

students. Of these students, 11 are male and 13 are female. The number of races represented

within this class is diverse with 13 students that are Caucasian, 3 students who are African

American, 6 students who are Hispanic, and 2 students who are 2 or more races.