We are delighted to announce that Susannah Bell, an English teacher at Berkeley High’s Community Partnership Academy, is our March Teacher of the Month. Ms. Bell has wowed us with her creativity, dedication, and overwhelming success in getting students excited about reading and writing.
Ms. Bell has been teaching freshman English at Berkeley High School for eight years, and her former students and their parents still remember the many creative projects that brought literature “alive” for them and inspired an enduring “passion for learning.” Students in Ms. Bell’s class write, direct and film scenes based on the classic works they read, and even build a “life-sized garret” while studying Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.
Ms. Bell’s innovative and engaging approach to teaching English, along with the individual attention she gives each student, has enabled her to overcome Berkeley High’s significant racial and socio-economic achievement gap and reach even unmotivated and at-risk students. One of the students who nominated Ms. Bell for the award struggled with learning disabilities in reading and writing. Yet under the steady guidance of Ms. Bell, which continued throughout his high school years and into college, he has grown immensely in his skill and confidence as a writer. He is just one of the many students for whom Ms. Bell has made a world of difference.
Ms. Bell was also the pioneer of a unique program at Community Partnership Academy that enables all interested students to take AP English, opening up more possibilities when applying for college. Since 2007, more than 75% of the students at Community Partnership Academy take AP English, coming before the start of the school day twice a week for extra instruction from Ms. Bell.
The students at Community Partnership Academy are fortunate to have such a talented, passionate, and caring teacher and mentor. Congratulations again, Ms. Bell, and keep up the great work!