My name is Asya Stephens, I’m going to the 11th grade and my passion is to be a dancer.
I struggled with my education early in life. I didn’t have the right support system at my elementary school to help me. As a result, I struggled with math and reading. For instance, math is a subject that I don’t understand sometimes when it comes to big numbers or even fractions. I get frustrated when I overthink things and sometimes cry when I am struggling with the work. With reading it is more so I needed to work with my vocabulary, comprehension and reading level which was really tough for me.
I felt like I was getting behind. My old school had a lot of students and they were not able to work with us on an individual basis. I needed that extra 1:1 attention because it was hard for me to learn and focus.
My mother stepped in for me in a huge way. She started saying to me “Asya your education is very important to me and yourself.” My mom showed me connections between a good education and going to college so I could live the type of life I wanted.
My mother made a choice to take me out of my old school and enrolled me in East Bay Innovation Academy. I think it was the best decision she could have made.
The First Day at a New School—New Experiences and Supports
First day at EBIA, I was nervous but excited at the same time that I would find myself and make friends. Once school started, I witnessed firsthand the work and dedication the school and teachers put into their students. I got to join a bunch of clubs that I loved. For example, I took theater club which made me want to do more acting. I joined the cheerleading team to be a part of something great with friends and finally in cooking club I got to make delicious pizza and smoothies. EBIA was also where I got introduced to office hours.
If you didn’t know, office hours are where teachers schedule a time to meet with their students after school. During office hours, you meet 1:1 with your teacher about specific things you may be working on or if you need any help with something. For example, I went to Math office hours afterschool because I need help with how to make equations and solve for them. So I talked to my math teacher and he helped me to visualize the equations by drawing on the whiteboard and this really helped me grow in that area. Office hours encouraged me to own my learning and improve as a student.
I thought student office hours was something that everyone in the 6th grade on experienced. I was shocked when I sat with other students and adults and this was the first time they had heard of middle and high schoolers having regular office hours with their teachers. One adult told me that he did not experience office hours until he got to college!
I am now even more grateful to my mom and EBIA for how they support me. My mother made a choice to send me to the best school she could find for me at the same time my school does all that it can to help me own my own education. I wish the same for other students.