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2016 Hollyhock Fellows


Animo Leadership Charter

Animo Leadership Charter High School is a small, public charter high school located in the Lennox community in South Los Angeles, and it is the flagship school for the Green Dot organization of schools.  Our student demographic of 625 students is 99% Latino, and 98% of our students qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch.  The majority of our students come from low-income, Spanish-speaking households, and our students and their families have been traditionally underrepresented.  Most importantly, however, Leadership is family.  Since its inception fifteen years ago, our school has striven to build community with parents, students, teachers, and staff, and thus all involved stakeholders work together with a common vision to help our students achieve success in college, leadership, and life.  We teach together, we eat together, and we work together to help our kids succeed.

Every individual in our hollyhock teams brings a unique personality as well as skill to the Hollyhock program, whether it be Socratic seminars, perfected pair work, project based learning, literacy strategies among all subject areas, or problem solving skills. Our team is very outspoken and energetic. We are very passionate about the subject we teach and become total nerds when we discover something that is completely out of our world (and that works).  Even though we are all very distinct personalities in our different departments and contents, we are a family in that we always make time to listen to each other, help one another out, and share a passion for working with our students. 

Our goals as a team are to broaden our professional development from organization-based development that is often stilted and does not suit our needs to more research-based programs that fit our individual needs as teachers.  We are hoping to take what we learn at Hollyhock both back to our school site as well as the organization as a whole.  Additionally, we feel that reflection and improvement are critical as teachers, and we hope to constantly evolve our own teaching practices to ensure our students receive the best possible instruction we can give.  Individually, we have goals to both develop the student and their skills.  In regards to the student, we hope to develop students as independent thinkers who can solve real world problems without a formula handed to them, and we hope to build self-motivated students constantly think of new ways to solve old problems.  In regards to their skills, we hope to implement more project-based learning, develop more critical thinking, and to develop literacy in all content (not just English classes). Go Animo!

Aspire Lionel Wilson Preparatory Academy

Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy is located in the Sobrante Park neighborhood of East Oakland. Originally a White-Only lock-out community, Sobrante Park became a working-class Black neighborhood in the 1960s and is now almost 40 percent Latino. Wilson Prep has served the Sobrante Park community since 2002 as part of Aspire Public Schools, a charter school network in California and Tennessee dedicated to preparing all of its graduates to be equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college and beyond. Today, our 6-12 school serves a vibrant and resilient student body of 491 members, 96 percent of whom are Latino, 97 percent of whom receive free or reduced lunch, and 28 percent of whom are English Language Learners. Our team consists of Patrick Thomas, a 6th year math teacher, Lea Hartog, a 5th year history teacher and Cara Liuzzi, a 4th year English teacher. We are committed to rigorous, culturally relevant, and authentic instruction that provides our students the skills they need to open any door of opportunity they so choose. As a team, we bring a dedication for continued learning experiences and an enthusiasm for collaborating with innovative educators to push our teaching to new heights. 

Seaside High School

Seaside High School is a comprehensive public school located in Seaside, CA, between the beautiful Monterey Bay and the Salinas Valley (Salad Bowl of the World). Our student body is composed of students from a wide variety of socio economic statuses, cultures, and languages. Seventy one percent of our students receive free and reduced lunch, and 64% of our students speak English as a second language. Our Hollyhock team consists of four members: Tessa Brown, Tessa Mauro, Rikee Ross, and LaShunda Nugent. The Tessas and Rikee have taught for 4 years. Tessa B. teaches Math and Computer Science, Tessa M. teaches English and Read 180, and Rikee teaches Integrated Math and Leadership. This is LaShundas second year teaching. She teaches English, ELD, Newcomers English, Graphic Design, and and Yearbook. In addition to teaching, we participate in extracurricular activities such as coaching sports and advising clubs. We are looking forward to meeting all of the Hollyhock fellows and learning from their experiences. As a school transitioning into the Project Based Learning (PBL) model, we will be challenged to develop culturally relevant projects using 1:1 technology. We hope to gain insight about how to leverage these tools to create more equitable learning opportunities for our students. We are looking forward to fully realizing our school motto of serving “Every Student, Every Day.”


Denver School of Science and Technology: Cole

DSST: Cole High School opened its doors in August of 2014 as the third high school of a Denver charter network. After our first year in action, Cole was one of the top three highest performing schools in Denver. Perhaps more importantly, Cole has formed an identity steeped in social justice. Our students and staff engage with tough questions around educational equity and personal identity as part of our daily mission.

We are comprised of Rebecca Luetjen, a 4th year English teacher, Amanda Palenchar, a 4th year science teacher, and Jeff Tissue, a 4th year math teacher. The three of us firmly believe that all students should have access to an outstanding education, and we are excited to be a part of the Hollyhock Fellowship to continue developing our understanding of curriculum, rigor, and college-access. Additionally, our hope is to find more ways to bring student voice into the classroom in order for them to be agents of change in our classrooms and the Cole community. As the second cohort of teachers from our school to attend Hollyhock, we hope to build off of the previous year’s teachers’ experience and development to continue fostering great changes in our school.


Chicago Tech Academy

ChiTech is a small, public school on Chicago’s near west side. As a contract school, we serve students from all over the city, mainly the south and west sides. The majority of our students live in neighborhoods impacted by gun violence and poverty, so we are striving to make our school a place where students feel safe and love coming everyday. ChiTech uses project based learning (PBL) as our model of instruction. We believe that PBL offers students a way to engage with academic content in a more meaningful way, through projects that bring them outside of the classroom and into real world situations. Projects are co-designed among teachers and students so we can pursue content and issues we are passionate about. Our focus on 21st century skills like collaboration and growth mindset can be seen widely throughout projects, but as we enter our third year of PBL we are looking to increase academic rigor and differentiate projects so that all students can achieve success. We are part of the 9th grade team and are lucky to call each other friends inside and outside of school.

Collins Academy

We are a history (Brian), special ed (Jamie), and science teacher (Amy) at a small urban school  with about 300 students on the West Side of Chicago. The majority of our students are African American, 97% of our students receive free- and reduced-priced lunch, and 17% of our students receive special education services. As young teachers we are trying to figure out how to best support our students. Our goals are to provide access to the skills and resources our students need in order to be successful and happy. Due to Collins’ small size and the instability of CPS as a network, the majority of teachers at our school are asked both to take on multiple leadership roles within the school and to create our own curriculum. This has led to a great deal of young and relatively inexperienced teachers (us) learning how to craft a school wide culture. Our freedom around curriculum necessitates being experimental and open to new ideas in the class. While this is exciting, it has tended to result in a highly stressed staff with little time to hone their craft or create consistently high-level materials. We are thus of the mind that our participation in the Hollyhock Fellowship will lead to not only our individual improvement, but also the potential improvement of our school as a whole.   

Eric Solorio Academy

Opened in 2010, Solorio is a neighborhood high school in Chicago Public Schools serving predominantly Latino students on Chicago’s southwest side.  Students in the Gage Park neighborhood face obstacles including poverty, gang violence, teen pregnancy, and ambiguous immigration statuses. Despite these obstacles, students at Solorio are outscoring comparable students by 4 points on the ACT, leading Schoolhound to rate Solorio the #1 neighborhood school in Illinois. 

Solorio’s 2016-2017 Hollyhock team consists of Conor Cameron, Laura Kroncke, and Kelsey Wright. Conor has taught Algebra and Debate at Solorio for the past 4 years.  Laura has taught sophomore United States History for the past 3 years as well as coached the Cheerleading and Pom-Pons team. Kelsey has taught Geometry and Algebra II for the last four years and is the girls Track & Field coach. As a team, we believe that the financial resources of a school should not determine the opportunities its students have. This belief led us to start our respective extracurricular programs while continuing to support our students academically.  We look forward to continuing building opportunities for our students by collaborating with teachers from around the country and bringing back the knowledge we gain to our classrooms and school community.

Larkin High School

Larkin High School is a public high school located in Elgin, IL. It is one of five high schools in the second largest school district in Illinois. 74% of Larkin’s 1,981 students are low-income and eligible for free and reduced lunch.  The population at Larkin is diverse as it is comprised of 18.1% white, 11.1% black, 64.4% Hispanic, 2.4% Asian, 0.6% American Indian, 3.5% multiracial, and 0.1% Pacific Islander students. Most of our students come from households where there is a low emphasis on the importance of education. Outside of school, a large portion of our students are facing challenges such as poverty, unstable home-life, homelessness, and a lack of parent involvement. These factors have contributed to a trend of disengagement in the school and also a graduation rate of only 77%. It is our goal to help our students see the value in education and help them grow into individuals that can be positive members of the community. We strive to achieve this goal by engaging students in the classroom, being positive role models, and empowering them with the tools to overcome the adversity that they are facing. Our team consists of Mark Bohlin, a 2nd year physics teacher, and Laura Patchin, a 5th year chemistry teacher. We both come from different backgrounds and bring unique teaching experiences and perspectives to Hollyhock. 

Pritzker College Prep

Our team is from Pritzker College Prep, a Noble charter school in the Hermosa neighborhood in Chicago, IL.  Serving over 900 students, our school is predominantly Latino with over 90% of our students on free and reduced lunch.  Despite the struggles our students face on a daily basis, we have had great success helping our students get to college.  100% of our students are accepted into 4 year universities, the majority of them being first generation college students, and approximately 85% end up attending these 4 year universities.  Our team provides great diversity to the Hollyhock program; we teach and coach a wide range of subjects and grade levels, as well as coach and sponsor multiple clubs and sports at Pritzker.  We also bring a wide variety of experiences to our classroom, as we all hail from different backgrounds and educational histories.  While we have different styles and experiences, we are all focused on ensuring our students are not only prepared to apply for college, but are set up to persevere and graduate to continue on to their future careers.

Rauner College Prep

Rauner College Prep, a campus of Noble Street Charter School, is a non-selective, public high school where 85% of students are eligible for free/reduced lunch. With longer class periods, a longer school day, and a longer school year, Rauner provides students with substantially more instructional time than a traditional Chicago public high school. This extra time, combined with a disciplined, consistent school culture, high expectations, and a team of dedicated teachers, results in dramatically improved academic performance. On average, 90% of Rauner scholars matriculate to college compared to only 25% of their peers in Chicago Public Schools. In 2013 Noble was ranked the 15th Most Transformative High School in the nation by Newsweek. Teammates Lashawn, Beth, and Tierionna work tirelessly to contribute to the mission of the Noble Network of Charter Schools. We believe that each and every student has the ability to graduate from college. We see college as the game-changer in helping to level the playing field in a society filled with inequity. Our goal is to collaborate with each other to ensure that our instruction prepares them for the rigor of college. Our school excitedly stands behind us and hope to learn from this experience as well.

Wendell Phillips Academy

The Wendell Phillips High School team is comprised of teachers of Math, English, Science, and Special Education. We work with students ranging all of the grade levels in the Bronzeville community of Chicago, Illinois. We want to use our diversity within departments and grade levels in the school to learn from fellows during this program and bring practices to strengthen the curriculum, increase the rigor, incorporate more literacy, and continue to push and motivate our scholars to achieve their goals. Furthermore, we are the second team at our school to be a part of the Hollyhock program and look forward to building on from the knowledge and experience our previous fellows have gained. It's our belief that all students can achieve greatness, but know that it takes a village and can't wait to grow ours!


Wyandotte High School

Wyandotte High School is a public school in Kansas City, Kansas, rich in history and tradition. Wyandotte once served a primarily white working-class population. But throughout the decades, it has come to represent the diversity of its surrounding majority-minority community of Hispanic, Black, and refugee populations.

Students are supported by staff organized into profession-based small-learning communities that offer students opportunities to explore specific career paths and take elective classes related to those fields. Wyandotte also offers more than two dozen dual-credit classes as well as vocational and technical certifications. Through groups and initiatives such as Bulldog Book Club, a slam poetry team, and a student exchange with a wealthy suburban school, we work to increase cross-cultural understanding and promote social justice.

To help create a sense of community among our department, we formed a curriculum design team to align our English curriculum according to the Common Core State Standards. Our members — Tim Stauffer, Collin LaJoie, Whitney Morgan, and Casey Jackson — teach a range of students. Whitney is in her third year of Sheltered English with an emphasis on immigrant and refugee needs; Collin teaches English classes, including honors, that focus on social justice and identity; Casey has taken a pivotal role in leading our English department and teaches English courses and Composition and Research; and Tim teaches English and focuses on social justice and popular culture. Although we are a group of different backgrounds, we are all rooted in the same mission: working together to create a culture of social justice, equity, and cultural responsiveness that validates student experience and empowers them to be active global citizens.


Chalmette High School

Leigh and Chris are a dynamic duo wholly committed to the positive transformation of students at Chalmette High School (CHS) and dedicated to the notion that all students have the potential and ability to thrive. CHS consistently seeks innovative methods to provide an equitable education and assist students in their endeavors.  Our school maintains a positive and respectful environment while holding students and ourselves to high expectations.

CHS, located in a suburb just outside of New Orleans, remains the only high school campus to service St. Bernard Parish in the ten-year aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.  An area also hard hit by the effects of the BP oil spill and ongoing coastal erosion, our diverse community continues to show resilience as it slowly approaches the pre-Katrina population levels and continues to seek a new sense of normalcy.  Our students come primarily from low socioeconomic backgrounds and often face atypical challenges due to these disasters that have shaped their lives and threatened their environment.  CHS, despite these challenges, is dedicated to the holistic development of the entire student.

 As local educators passionate about their profession and community, Leigh and Chris are deeply committed to contributing to the intentional revitalization and cultural preservation of the region as they put the needs of their students at the forefront.  Recognizing that cross collaboration is vital to bridging the achievement gap, they cover content areas including social studies and math.  As the third team of teachers from CHS to embark on the Hollyhock journey, Leigh and Chris are beyond excited for this unique opportunity to grow as teachers and enrich their pedagogical understanding of providing a meaningful and multicultural education to all.


City on a Hill Public Charter

City on a Hill (CoaH) is a network of charter schools located in Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts.  CoaH opened its doors over twenty years ago as one of the state’s first charter schools and was founded on the four pillars of academic achievement, citizenship, teacher leadership, and public accountability. All three schools primarily serve low-income students of color who hail from a variety of neighborhoods across the city. CoaH’s population consists of many multilingual students, as well as a growing number of English Language Learners. Our Hollyhock team includes members from both the CoaH Circuit Street and CoaH Dudley Square schools, which are located several blocks apart from each other in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston.  We are a team of two English teachers, one history teacher, and a science teacher, all in our first five years of teaching and our first three years at the school. Gavin and Rob, both avid Knicks fans, are originally from Long Island and can be found coaching the CoaH basketball and track teams throughout the year.  Nina and Lauren, who both began their teaching careers in East Asia, grew up in New England and teach 9th and 10th grade English. We are all very excited for the opportunity to work closely with other teachers from our disciplines in order to identify practices that will improve both the academic and social climates at our schools, with the ultimate goal of bringing these ideas back and sharing them with our own colleagues.  We can’t wait to meet everyone on July 10th!

New York

Bronx Academy for Software Engineering

Bronx Academy for Software Engineering, BASE, is at the midpoint of our third year, and as we grow in size, so do our challenges. Majority of our teachers have not been in the classroom for longer than four years, and 80% of our population is at-risk young men of color. At a growing school, we are charged with developing a four-year curriculum. This is both promising and terrifying. Fortunately, we have strong inquiry teams designed to create multigrade instructional alignment based on our school’s focus standards. Collaborative Inquiry and Critical Friend Groups are two pillars of adult learning at BASE. They are strong conduits that disperse responsibility and calibrate practice across the disciplines. We use an esoteric French dance as our design structure. A Pas de Foch is a dance of ever widening concentric circles that revolve around a central point. This dance has become an analogy we use at BASE to outline lessons, units, and inquiry cycles. We start with a learning objective, and every step of the exploration pushes our thinking outward before we venture home, when we reflect on our process and goal. Sharing our processes, and our dance routines, will coordinate with and contribute to Hollyhock’s community. BASE teachers embody and practice our core value: empathy. We speak about students like they’re present because the journey to sit in a classroom and pour over a copy of Invisible†Man†is longer than a subway ride. In the Bronx, students traverse conditions of temporary housing, neighborhood violence, and teenage drama to learn. Our goal is to build their confidence to take academic risks and ownership of one’s learning.

Brooklyn Frontiers High School

Brooklyn Frontiers High School is located in the downtown Cobble Hill area, just a few blocks from the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.  BFHS’ student population comes from all over the city’s five boroughs, and share the same experience of having been held back at least twice in middle school.  Our students are over-aged and under-credited, and arrive at BFHS facing social/emotional as well as learning challenges that often interfere with their academic success.  More than 50 percent of the student body has IEPs, so a majority of the instruction happens in an ICT setting.  Each of our team members holds a Special Education license and we are all NYC Teaching Fellows.  We agree that through our work in ELA, History, Science and Math we hope to not only close learning gaps, but expose our students to as much information and experience as possible to foster self-advocacy and critical thinking skills for their life beyond BFHS.  One distinct area of development we’ve found is a critical need to address our students’ distrust of (and disdain for) schooling, which often gets in the way of academic progress. To that end, we are looking forward to our work at Hollyhock broadening our repertoire of engagement strategies while ensuring rigor and ultimately, fostering academic independence in our students.

Eagle Academy For Young Men

Eagle Academy for Young Men at Ocean Hill is a middle and high school that cater to young men of color in the New York and New Jersey area. We currently have 6 schools that are working toward developing and providing support to a network of all male, grades 6 through 12, college-preparatory schools in challenged, urban communities that educate and mentor young men into future leaders committed to excellence in character, scholastic achievement and community service, and to promote these principles nationally. Our team consists of Sarah Trexler, Shahid Wright and Gina Kleberg. Sarah and Shahid teach Science and Gina teaches English Language Arts. Our philosophy is that all children can learn and at Eagle we are constantly striving to find the right mix to help our students thrive. Our mission is to empower at-risk inner city young men to become academic achievers, engaged citizens, and responsible men by providing quality education, resources and proven effective community-based initiatives to address the shortfalls in public education to effectively educate them. One of our members, Shahid, is a product of the Eagle approach and success, having attended and graduated from the Eagle campus in the Bronx. His perspective is a vital part of our team’s strength and we hope to bring our experiences and excitement to Hollyhock as we discuss educating these great young people.

KAPPA International

Amy, Kathleen, and Kevin are thrilled to be the third team from KAPPA International in the Bronx to participate in the Hollyhock Experience! KAPPA International is a public high school in the Bronx that aims to offer an International Baccalaureate quality education for all of its students. KAPPA is located on the fourth floor of a larger educational campus with six other middle and high schools. KAPPA has a young staff that is willing to experiment and depends on collaboration for success.  We hope to share with other Hollyhock teams about our own learning curve(s), specifically with Experiential Learning Opportunities, Mastery-Based Learning, and using inquiry in teacher teams. Our 2016-2018 Hollyhock team aims to teach investigation and inspire inquiry throughout the year across disciplines and grades. After teaching 8th through 12th grade social studies classes over the last six years, Amy’s current “social studies” learning project has taken the form of entering parenthood. Amy’s looking forward to the Hollyhock experience to rejuvenate her return to the classroom after maternity leave. Kathleen has embraced the challenges of learning a new IB curriculum and looping with the same group of students to eleventh grade US History. She is a second year teacher who loves learning and growing with her students. Kevin is a 7th year ELA-teaching maverick and a lifelong lover of learning. With  experience in schools both big and small, private and public, he strives to ensure his 10th grade English class is rigorous, engaging, and meaningful for all his students. While Kevin believes that his classroom is a place to facilitate the development of essential reading and writing skills, he also is helping to develop independent thinking skills as the foundation of that learning.

Sunset Park High School

Sunset Park High School is a Title I public community school that exists as a result of years of advocacy in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. 16% of our student body consists of ENL students while 22% of our student body is made up of students with special needs. Our school's mission has always been and continues to be to provide an inclusive education for all of our students and to provide a helpful, safe hub in the community for families within our school's sphere of influence. In the spirit of inclusion, our school believes in a co-teaching model that provides students with the chance to learn in an environment that is the least restrictive for them, respectively, and focuses on providing ample time for teachers to develop strong collaborative relationships and skills in order to better serve our population. Furthermore, as service-providers, the three of us are actively engaged on a daily basis with bringing the fruits of our collaboration to our classrooms. Lastly, as a community school, we are also focused on fostering the same kind of active civic-mindedness in our students that led to the construction of our school. As a result, teachers and students at our school actively participate with and support local community-based organizations in an attempt to deepen our students' experiences engaging with issues affecting Sunset Park and beyond.

Uncommon Schools

Uncommon is more than a network of schools. Uncommon is a mission grounded in the belief that education is the modern civil rights movement; a mission grounded in the belief that a child’s zip code should NOT determine his/her fate; a mission to truly make education the great equalizer.  Our team is made up of four math teachers across schools in Brooklyn, NY and Newark, NJ.  Each of us specializes in a different content area of math from Algebra I through AP Calculus.  Our team covers the entire sequence of courses that a high school student will experience during their four years of high school. We intend to leverage this breadth of knowledge to cultivate strong  habits of discussion  that our students can use to further communicate mathematical understandings, both inside and outside of the classroom, verbally and in writing. It is our goal that by senior year, students are leading seminars to address college level calculus problems. Across Uncommon High Schools, we share assessments across each of these content areas so that we can identify key levers in instruction that we can share between staff members. Uncommon’s success rests on three pillars:  data driven instruction, student culture, and instructional leadership. Every minute of the day is used to help our students to achieve academically and personally. Our goal is to help our children be legitimately successful, from real gratification from real learning and real work. They must see and believe that they can achieve. Success increases belief, and belief will motivate them to work for greater success. As a team, we hope to share some of our work on core-aligned assessments and our strong knowledge of data-driven instruction. From the Hollyhock Fellowship, we hope to deepen our craft in creating classrooms in which students approach and solve problem with accuracy, depth, and logic. We especially are looking forward to building discussion into student’s daily math practice so they have access to enter STEM fields of study in college ultimately earning jobs in engineering, finance, and other quantitative driven industries.  

Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women

The Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science For Young Women (UAI) is a Title I, STEM-focused 6-12 school in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn. Through our pedagogy and partnerships, UAI strives to educate the whole student through access to mental and physical health services, a comprehensive Family Life and Sex Education curriculum, college planning and courses and clubs that foster female empowerment. UAI runs a student-centered pedagogy called Learning Cultures. Through this style of teaching we aim to instill independence, a sense of inquiry, and the ability to self-regulate in our students.

This is UAI’s third cohort of Hollyhock Fellows; after this year ¼ of our staff will have attended the fellowship. Danielle is in her third year of teaching Geometry, while currently pursing a Master’s in special education.  She is looking forward to collaborating with teachers to develop ways to enhance students engagement. Kristin is in her second year teaching Special Education at UAI after changing careers from advertising. She is determined to change students’ attitudes about math and remove obstacles to their learning. Kerry is finishing her second year teaching at UAI and is pursing a master’s degree at City College in Literacy. She wants to get to know herself better as a teacher and better support her students’ understanding. Micheal is in his fifth year teaching Algebra 2/Trigonometry. He wants to network with other math teachers to develop a curriculum that incorporates practical applications of Algebra and Algebra 2 throughout his courses. Marianna came to teaching after a previous career in book publishing, and she is excited to share curriculum and best practices with English educators across the nation. This is her fourth year teaching English at UAI. Our team will contribute our experience with teacher-driven professional development as well as innovative student-centered learning. 

North Carolina

Lee County High School

Lee County High School is a public school located in Sanford, North Carolina and is home to a diverse student population. LCHS serves a large minority population in which over 75% of students are on free or reduced lunch. Lee County High School has the privilege of being both an AVID and an IB school. Both programs allow us to better prepare our students for the future before them. We pride ourselves on going above-and-beyond for our students and doing everything in our power to ensure that each and every student receives the best education possible. LCHS focuses on increasing student literacy and helping students develop their critical thinking abilities across all disciplines. To achieve these goals, we are constantly striving to better ourselves as teachers. Between the four of us we have two master’s degrees, training in SIOP, AVID, GradPoint, and UBD. We are also coaches, club leaders, four block teachers, and Jerica was even a Kenan Fellow at NC State in the summer of 2014. We also have all taken the step toward becoming mentors for other beginning teachers by participating in a Take the Lead mentor program. Simply put, we have a great sense of responsibility to our students, our peers, and our community. We hope that the Hollyhock Fellowship will help us grow as educators to allow us to better serve our students, peers, and community. We are excited for the opportunity before us and cannot wait to begin the journey with the rest of the Hollyhock Fellows.

Northern High School

Northern High School, located in Durham, North Carolina, is home to more than 1400 students from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Our diverse student body, 63% of which receives free and reduced lunch, enriches the community of our school and inspires us to teach “out of the box.” We pride ourselves in utilizing a variety of instructional techniques and nontraditional texts within our curriculum. Within Durham Public Schools, Northern is home to several unique course offerings such as: Outdoor Education, Culinary Arts, Automotive Technology, Agricultural Sciences, among others. We also have developed programs such as Young Men of Progress (YMOP) aimed at closing the achievement gap for African-American males in our community.

We pride ourselves as Northern Knights as being “UKnighted” in our commitment to excellence both for our students and ourselves. As of 2016, Northern has been named to the Washington Post’s top 10% of the Nation’s Most Challenging High Schools for three consecutive years. Through the Hollyhock program, we look forward to learning new ways to challenge, empower, and inspire our students through strengthening ourselves as teacher-leaders.

Smithfield-Selma High School

Smithfield-Selma High School (SSS) is a Title I school in a semi-rural community in Johnston County, North Carolina.  Our community is rich in local history and culture with a growing pharmaceutical research industry.  SSS serves 1200 diverse students through a variety of programs such as Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID),   Career and Technical Education (CTE), International Baccalaureate Programme, and Spartan Academy.  As classroom teachers, we strive to help our students become responsible, globally-aware, and service-oriented citizens.  Our diverse student population motivates us to reflect upon our methodology.  Lauren Casteen, a third-year teacher, teaches World History and Teacher Cadet, an introduction to teaching for high school students.  This year, her classroom is partnering with Reach the World which pairs college students studying abroad with classrooms in the U.S to build geography and global citizenship skills.  Laura Chalfant, a second-year teacher, teaches a wide range of learners in courses including IB and AVID Biology and inclusion classes for Exceptional Children.  Cynthia Hutchings, Johnston County’s 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year, is a fifth-year IB English teacher.  With her students, Cynthia started an anonymous food pantry that helps reach the 80% of our students who qualify for free and reduced lunch by providing them with food during weekends and school breaks.  Tholeathcus Raiford is new to the SSS family after teaching for five years previously both in North Carolina and Guam.  She comes from a science research and corporate background which introduces a real-world perspective to her instruction in her physical science classes.  Tholeathcus teaches students in our Spartan Academy who require a more flexible schedule to earn their high school diploma.  She is also a recipient of the Bright Ideas grant to bring green energy to the school.  We look forward to bringing our enthusiasm, passion, and unique personalities to the Hollyhock Fellowship.  


Franklin High School

Franklin High School is a public high school in the rapidly developing southeast neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Our mission is to help all students prepare for a post secondary education and to successfully meet the challenges and demands of a complex, changing, and technological world. At Franklin, we strive to provide advanced placement options for students traditionally underserved by standard school programs. We are working to develop inter-disciplinary practices and lessons that provide a broader support for all of our students. We look forward to creating a network of teacher leaders at our school who will be able to work for improvements in the rest of our school community. We will bring focus on challenging the broad assumptions in education around race, class, sexualtiy, and the environment. We are Franklin Strong!


Northeast High School

Northeast High School is the largest, and one of the oldest, high schools in Philadelphia. Our school has had 175 graduating classes over the past 125 years, and has continually provided a quality education to tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of students. Our school boasts an extremely diverse student population of over 3300 students that represent dozens of cultures and 57 unique languages. Many students travel from all across the city to take part in our specialized programs. These programs include our Magnet and IB programs, Applied Visual and Industrial Design program, and Sports Marketing and Business program. We are also proud to be a thriving “neighborhood” high school in a district that has seen numerous neighborhood schools stuttered or converted to charter schools in recent years.

As teachers in a large, urban, public neighborhood school, the team that represents Northeast has learned to make the most of the limited provided resources, in order to provide a pedagogically progressive education for our students. Jeremy Cress moved to Philadelphia to attend college seven years ago, and then never left. Within his math classroom he frequently employs technology to improve the critical thinking skills of his students.  Joel Legatt switched careers from Personal Training into teaching, and has not looked back.  In his fourth year of teaching and second year at Northeast, Joel is a student-centered teacher who strives to make math fun and accessible. Lauren Ball always knew she wanted to be an urban high school teacher, and has dedicated her entire 7 years as a teacher to Northeast High School. She uses her skills as Northeast's cheerleading coach and her ability to match past events to the present day, to help her freshman students become excited about World History, while understanding influences on today's cultures. Yaniv Aronson worked in the Film and TV industries before becoming an English and Film and Video teacher at Northeast High School.  He believes that academic standards can seamlessly integrate into his technology classes and that this offers students the chance to see English lessons with a unique perspective, while also learning how to create and edit videos.


Hidalgo Early College High School

Richard Tovar, Porter Mickle, Amanda Enriquez-Brettl, and Albino Lozano teach at Hidalgo Early College High School in Deep South Texas. They teach a population that is 100% economically disadvantaged with a high percentage of English language learners.  Yet, the campus provides a variety of advanced courses such as dual enrollment and AP classes to help advance students that would otherwise be unable to access these resources. Students have the opportunity to graduate with an associate’s degree from a local college in conjunction with their high school diplomas.

The size of the student population at HECHS is generally at or just under 1000 students.  Because of the small population many students juggle athletic activities and UIL Academic activities on top of their classroom workload. 

While the student population is majority Hispanic, the teaching staff is culturally diverse. There are teachers who trace their origins to other countries and have made their way to south Texas.  Al and Amanda both teach science. While Porter teaches English and Richard teaches Social Studies. 



Renton High School

Hello! We are the Renton High School Team: Jessica, Gazalle, and Michaela! We are excited to be joining the Hollyhock family in 2016, along with our colleagues from the 2015 cohort: Annie Fox and Allison Hays. Renton Senior High School is a beautiful brick building located in historic downtown Renton, Washington. Renton is a Title I school and is situated in a high needs community, with over 80% of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch. It is highly diverse, with over 41 languages spoken and 89% of students identifying as non-white. We celebrate our diversity every year with our week-long student run multicultural celebration. Renton offers a variety of pathways for students to pursue, from our newly implemented IB program to more traditional routes like running start. The three of us represent math, literacy, and science and hold a variety of positions at our school. We are passionate about our kids. We strive to develop curriculum that is engaging and relevant to the range of students we teach, and we hope that by participating in the Hollyhock fellowship we will be able to further develop our pedagogy and better serve our community.

Washington, DC

Capital City Public Charter

We teach and learn at Capital City Public Charter School, a Title I Pre-K through 12th grade EL school steeped in principles of project-based learning and social justice in the Manor Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. Every year, 100 percent of our graduating class is accepted to college and the majority of them choose to attend college or pursue a career — a testament to the conscience our students’ families instill in them and our reinforcement of those principles with high academic expectations and community values. Annually, all teachers throughout the school are expected to facilitate a semester-wide expedition. Students use the skills they have acquired across subject areas, including electives, to address realities that exist beyond the walls of the classroom. We are all general education teachers in the humanities (Social Studies, English), have backgrounds in activism, education, journalism and writing and are the only ones who teach our respective disciplines at school. To Hollyhock we bring a commitment to working for justice in our classrooms and in our communities; a knowledge that our students teach us resilience and grit every day; a sense of humor; and a desire to learn in order to grow the instruments of our instructional practices. To that end, our goals include gathering techniques and resources that will allow us to address issues of equity in our classrooms and school; practice effective ways to support our inclusion and ELL populations alongside inclusion teachers; gather strategies that allow families to better support the academic and social-emotional needs of their teens; develop methods of discussing challenges that face teachers in order to work toward immediate solutions; and form relationships with other teachers in our discipline that will allow for co-planning and greater knowledge of what happens in other schools. Collectively, our role is to develop critical thinkers who are able to advocate for themselves and their communities. We want to grow in order to get better at doing just that.