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Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students

Practice Transcending Theory


Edited By Mary Poplin and Claudia Bermudez

Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students contains the quintessential details of highly effective teachers working with students who live in poverty inside our public schools and community colleges. This book features the words and actions of the teachers that can inspire and direct any current or future teacher who wants to be great and be a part of inspiring young people to fulfill their potential. This is the grist we need to spark a reinvigorated critical national conversation about what it takes to really have highly effective teachers in low-income public schools and whether we have the moral courage to work as hard as they do to make educational equity a reality in our nation.

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11. “Believe you have something to say”: Successful Community College Teachers of Developmental English Classes (Rebecca Hatkoff / Claudia Bermúdez)


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11. “Believe you have something to say”: Successful Community College Teachers of Developmental English Classes


Based on portrayals in mainstream media and entertainment, it often seems like the average college student attends a four-year university full time, lives on campus, graduates in 4–6 years, and maybe even participates in Greek life. Yet the reality is, nearly 40% of all US undergraduate students are community college students (NCES, 2018). Of those 9 million community college students, only 31% are enrolled full time and 40.8% work full time—as compared to just 22.8% of their four-year college counterparts (Kolesnikova, 2009). Though the majority of community college students have an intended goal of transferring to a four-year university, only about 29% actually transfer to four-year institutions, and only about 16% go on to earn a bachelor’s degree (Kolesnikova, 2009).

In California, 70% of degree-seeking community college students had not completed a certificate/degree and had not transferred to a university after being enrolled for seven years (Moore & Shulock, 2010). The numbers are similar in the largest district in the country and the site of our research, in which 46 to 71% of students (depending on campus) do not complete a certificate/degree or transfer after six years of enrollment (LACD Student Success Scorecard, 2017).

Why are so many community college students struggling to attain their stated goals? One tremendous hurdle to completion...

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