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Hear from Jaylen, Our Student of the Year

by Elisabeth Stock on

For this month’s article, I invite you to learn about Jaylen, a sixth-grade student from South Bronx Preparatory School. Earlier this month we honored Jaylen as the 2017 Student of the Year at PowerMyLearning’s Innovative Learning Awards.

During the ceremony, Jaylen presented his mother, Deshia, and math teacher, Ms. Arelys Arenas, with the awards for the Parent of the Year and Teacher of the Year. Jaylen explained how his mother and teacher teamed up to become effective learning partners and inspired him to work harder, bring his grades up, and develop ownership of his learning. In short, these two adults made the PowerMyLearning Triangle light up for Jaylen.

I’d like to share this four-minute video of Jaylen that shows how much he loves to learn and also how important his mom and his teacher are in fostering that love of learning.

PowerMyLearning: A Glimpse Into Our Work from PowerMyLearning on Vimeo.

I also invite you to read a few excerpts from Jaylen’s speech.

“I want to tell you how PowerMyLearning helped me, and how Ms. Arenas and my mom played a role in shaping where I am now. With their help, I was able to bring my grades up and, together, they encouraged me to work harder and be the best I could be.

PowerMyLearning Connect is an educational website where learning is fun. Sorry parents, but don’t be hatin’ because math was never fun for you when you were a kid! PowerMyLearning Connect has Family Playlists where the kid and parent participate in a series of fun games and can share with each other and teachers what they think about the playlist and about Connect.

My math teacher, Ms. Arenas, is one big reason why I am where I am now because she has pushed me to be my best since day one. I used to get upset because everyone else would be talking, but once I started talking she would tell me to be quiet. But then I learned that it’s because I don’t operate well while I’m talking and she didn’t want me to fail the class. I started making better decisions and my grades started coming up. Now I am working even harder so I can keep my grades up and conquer math. In math, I think of it like basketball–I keep shooting the same shot until it’s water and turns into my hotspot. I kept practicing, going to afterschool until my just-passing-grade, a D, turned into a B. Once I even had an A+ in math. Because of this, I want to give Ms. Arenas a special shout out for helping me find my success.

Now, let me tell you about my mom. My mom helped me with a lot of the challenges that I had in math and in school in general. She gives me good advice when I have to take quizzes or tests, and she teaches me the math I don’t understand in an easier way, so it’s almost like I’m being homeschooled. My mom motivates me to do better because when I get a good report card and good grades she rewards me with greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, lambs, rams, hogs, dogs, greens, beans, potatoes, chicken, turkey, rabbit–you name it! Just kidding. I love my mom and if she continues what she is doing, then I’ll be the president one day.

All I know is that with supportive teachers like Ms. Arenas, and my amazing mom, I will continue my success all the way until my last day on earth. I want to say thank you to PowerMyLearning, to Ms. Arenas, and to my mom for helping me unleash my potential.”

Jaylen’s story explains why the PowerMyLearning Triangle is the touchstone for everything we do. Together with his mother, Deshia, and his teacher, Ms. Arenas, Jaylen was able to take ownership of his learning and unleash his potential.

As we reflect on this past year, we thank you for supporting our efforts to help students in under-resourced communities, together with their teachers and families, harness the power of personalized learning to improve educational outcomes. We look forward to another year of helping students like Jaylen reach their full potential.