Teacher Feature with Adar Howard

Adar HowardLast week, Adar Howard welcomed more than 100 tenth grade students to her English classes at Ballou High School. This is her fifth year teaching at the school.

Adar graduated from the DC Public School system then majored in architecture in college. After a few years of working in the field, she decided to transition to teaching. After going through a teacher’s fellowship program she moved back home to DC to find a job. She said, “I felt it would be a great opportunity to give back to the school system that I went through myself.”

Adar first became connected to One World Education three years ago when Eric gave a presentation at her English department meeting. He showed so much energy and enthusiasm that she said she was very drawn to what he was saying. It was only her second year teaching and she felt she needed any help she could get to guide her students to become better writers so she agreed to try out the One World Education curriculum with her students. It worked well and she’s used it every year since.  

Since many teachers are new each school year, she sees One World Education’s curriculum as a big help for them as it was for her when she was a new teacher. The lesson planning is done and it’s easy for teachers to understand and implement. It’s also great for students. “The way it’s designed it’s very student-friendly,” she said. “They know what to do by following the directions in the booklet.”

For her, the value of the One World Education Writing Program is that it lets students write about what they’re interested in. “I’m not telling them to write an essay on imperialism. They’re coming up with their own ideas,” she remarked. Some of their essay topics include teen pregnancy, violence in video games, police brutality, cyberbullying, and nutritional school lunches.

“It also teaches them real skills they’ll need in the future. They’ll need to research things and do critical thinking and analysis their whole life.”

Another benefit to students is practical: everything is bound in one single notebook. They value photocopies and having to share materials less, so having their own notebook that they can work on every day makes them appreciative and brings them a lot of pride in their work.

The curriculum provides opportunities for more collaboration among teachers. This year, for example, Adar is working with the 10th grade history teacher who will help students learn about global topics they can focus on in their Writing Program essays.

For the last two years Adar has worked with Ballou International where she takes students abroad three times a year to places like France, Venezuela, and Zambia. They have to write an argumentative essay to be accepted into the program. Usually it’s only 11th and 12th graders who are accepted but thanks to the skills they gain with the One World Education Writing Program, three of her honors 10th grade students were accepted for their exceptional essays.

Because the curriculum has worked so well in her classroom, in August, she led a professional development session for her peers to help them learn how to duplicate her writing gains. During the session, she asked the 20 teachers what challenges they face and they mentioned things like finding time for lesson planning and making sure their plans are common core aligned. She was able to explain how One World Education’s curriculum solves every challenge they raised. By the end of the session, each teacher said they would like to use the curriculum this year.

Being a teacher leader is also helping Adar with her professional development and goals for her career path. So with more students gaining the writing skills they need, her partnership with One World Education is creating win-win-wins all around!

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As friends and neighbors, Steven and I over the years have enjoyed the privilege of watching Adar grow from strenth to strength. She is smart, conscientious and fun. A wonderful example in a world that sees too little of the type, so this recognition is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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