29 Feb Student of the month: Jamal Middleton
Congratulations Jamal Middleton – Student of the Month from Mossy Oaks Elementary School. You are an extraordinary young man and exemplary student.
Letter from Mr. Anderson, Jamal’s teacher:
Every year as teachers on the first day of school we see many new fresh faces, eager to learn, and excited to be at school. And every year, as teachers, we are asked to help each student reach their full potential. By the time January hits, many of those fresh faces are no longer as fresh, and a lot of that eagerness and excitement has slightly diminished as students settle into their routines, and the newness and exhilaration of a new year and teacher have evaporated. At the same time the teachers have come to an understanding of who their students are, and how to help them reach their full potential. This year has been no different, with the exception of one student, Jamel Middleton.
At the beginning of the year, Jamel was a quiet and polite young man, who was excited to start a new year, and every day he was ready to learn, and willing to take on any challenge. After conferencing with him many times in math and writing, reading through his A9 and RTI plans in Enrich, meeting with his mom, and seeing many work samples from Jamel, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of where he was as a student. That understanding was not even close to accurate. What I didn’t understand at the beginning of the year was that Jamel has a determination to be successful beyond any student that I have worked with before.
By September, I realized that Jamel was going to constantly be going above and beyond, and that it was going to be my responsibility to try and keep up. Many times in math, Jamel would hit a road block. We would practice several problems and by the end of our math period he would have a pretty good understanding, but the skill wasn’t quite mastered. I would complement him on his improvement in the skill, but I could tell he was not pleased as he did not master it. The next morning he would come in with 15-20 problems that HE made up, and HE solved all by himself to prove that he did master the skill. Sometimes these problems were written on envelopes, and when I asked why, he explained that he didn’t have any paper at home, and that was all he could find. The only time I heard Jamel say “I give up” is when we worked on subtraction with regrouping, and we had about 10 minutes left in class. He had worked on many problems, and I told him that it was OK to stop for the day because he had worked hard. I asked for him to pick a skill in IXL to continue working on. Five minutes later, Jamel was tapping me on the shoulder wanting me to look at another 2 subtraction problems that he completed…and correctly. This perseverance was very apparent when he went from a 188 on his fall MAP math test, to a 201. His success didn’t just pertain to math. In writing, Jamel has gone from writing 5 lines for an essay, to 5 full paragraphs, and he has gone up 2 levels in his Fountas and Pinnel reading level.
This success is ONLY because of his sheer perseverance to be successful regardless of any obstacles or preconceived notions as to what he can do. But the best part is that on day 94, Jamel is still jumping out of his chair every day to raise his hand to answer as many questions as possible, he is still smiling every day, and eager and excited to take on any new tasks that the day brings. This perseverance is what has helped Jamel far out reach any potential that we could have ever envisioned setting for him, and will continue to light his way to a successful educational career in Beaufort County Schools.