Teacher Feature with Desiree Raught

Thanks to evaluations conducted by George Washington University and American University this year, we know that One World Education’s writing program improves students’ research and writing skills. Additionally, two-thirds of students felt they learned something new about a global or local issue.

But what do teachers think of the program?

This is what we’re exploring in our new “Teacher Feature” where we interview and highlight exceptional teaching taking place in our schools!  

Desiree Raught

First up is Desiree Raught, a tenth grade English teacher at McKinley Tech High School. Desiree started her career with Teach for America and she is entering her seventh year at McKinley. She was recently awarded the “2014 Next Generation Award” for her work to make DC Public Schools more welcoming for LGBQT youth.

Desiree decided to try out our curriculum last year after a colleague recommended it. She “really liked the program.”


Well, she said, first, it was something new to do and second, she liked stressing the idea of global education and letting students explore topics they care about. She found the curriculum really easy to navigate, implement and grade, but she was also thrilled by what students took away.

“Students were extremely engaged and extremely interested in completing the project,” Desiree remarked. “They were invested because they could pick their own topics that were important to them.”

Some of the topics her students chose to write about included tolerance for gay marriage, how to make America more welcoming for immigrants, and harsher laws against carbon monoxide emissions. A few students wrote about less serious topics, too, like arguing for the end of homework or changes to their school uniform policy.

Desiree is the school’s Gay-Straight-Alliance advisor and one of her roles is engaging in anti-bullying work. She found our curriculum made it easy for her to explore diversity issues “in a way other curriculum wouldn’t allow.”

She stressed that what is so key about this curriculum is that “it’s structured enough that students know how to write an essay and do research but it’s still free and malleable enough to allow them to take something happening in their lives and write about it in a meaningful way.”

She feels the biggest benefit to students is the chance for self-knowledge, to “think about what’s interesting to them and to find out more about it.” She sees this as a key skill for life as it can “teach kids that learning never stops.”

Additionally, she knows that learning how to write a research paper is crucial college preparation for them because no matter what subject someone studies in college, research, citations, and using evidence will be required.

Something she appreciates about the curriculum is that there are materials for every student. Sadly, she spends hundreds of dollars a year to make sure every student has books and materials. With our curriculum, she says, “You have everything you need from start to finish and the kids are really engaged.”

She is looking forward to using the curriculum again this school year!

Photo Credit: Desiree Raught, taken by Metro Weekly

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