Sitting L to R:
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Zav Dadabhoy, Pam Boyles, Patrick Serpa
Sanding L to R:
Corny Rodriguez, Sonya Christian, Manny Mourtzanos, Ron Head (Data Coach), John Nixon (Leadership Coach), Vikki Coffee, Sue Vaughn
Check out Post 1 on our ATD kickoff in Orlando at
Let’s hear from Manny Moutrzanos, our team lead:
The Achieving the Dream conference has created many eye-opening revelations for me. As educators, we are very sincere and well-intentioned in our desire to help students succeed, but can be very unaware of how our personal academic experiences differ from those of our students, which can create a barrier to empathizing and understanding their struggles. I’m also realizing how our institutional policies and practices can create inadvertent barriers to student success.
The data is clear; students are not achieving success. As a result of this conference, I feel a greater sense of responsibility to address this issue on an individual level, as well as an institutional level.
The highlight of this conference was listening to a student from Valencia College recount his personal journey…dropping out of high school, involved in a gang, incarcerated at the age of 16, and being released from prison without a home. Living in a homeless shelter, he committed himself to completing his college degree. Overcoming obstacle after obstacle, he was able to succeed, which he attributed to a combination of his ‘will’ and the compassion of a college that cared about helping students succeed. It made me wonder how many of our own students are willing to succeed, but are struggling, and are in desperate need of our support to help them succeed.
There is much work to be done in increasing our support for students, but I approach it with much energy, a clear vision, and resolute determination. The time we invest in supporting our students will not return void.
I was able to catch up with that student, Angel Sanchez, and get him to talk a little about his experience. Here is 3:34 minutes of Angel Sanchez.