In the spring of 2015, my family and I moved from the far South Side of Chicago to the South Loop so our son could attend National Teachers Academy (NTA). My son is a diverse learner, and when he first enrolled at NTA he was in the fourth grade but read at a first-grade level. Within six months of attending NTA, Kavlin made the honor roll for the first time in his life. Shortly after that, I noticed that he began to show a new attitude towards life. He began to smile more and exemplify the importance of doing things the NTA-way. His confidence began to show in every area of life. Kavlin began to appreciate his education because of the staff at National Teachers Academy. And after two years of attendance, his reading and math test levels have soared—he is now completing work at his correct grade level. Kavlin’s growth didn’t stop at academics. After many years of trying to encourage him to participate in sports, this year Kavlin surprised us all and joined the NTA Eagles football team. NTA has given him the confidence to say "I can’t wait until I go to college!!!" Getting my son to this point wasn’t easy. Prior to becoming an NTA student, Kavlin was doing his best to cope with the death of his sibling and trying to adjust to life in a new neighborhood. He previously had no friends and never participated in any sports. But, his teachers weren’t discouraged by his past and they motivated him to focus on his future. Every small achievement was celebrated. Kavlin’s confidence began to grow more and more. And as a parent, the
best feeling ever was walking into the school and seeing Kavlin's picture on the “Examples of Excellence Board” near the main office—confirmation that I’d made the right decision for my son’s education. NTA staff and teachers have invested more than just academics in my son, they looked at the bigger picture and figured out what areas he needed the most attention. Sometimes he needed a teacher to sit near him, sometimes he just needed a high-five to remind him that he could do it. Regardless of the effort, the entire staff played a major role in building my son into the confident young man that he is today. These are things that you don’t usually see at an average Chicago public school. Most teachers don’t have the time to work together to focus on one student, but NTA went above and beyond to get my son on the right track. These are things that you rarely see in the Chicago Public Schools system. My son is an example that NTA is one in a million.
Photo courtesy of author.
Rekeia Williams is a South Loop community member and National Teachers Academy parent. Rekeia attended elementary school and high school in the South Loop/Bronzeville-area. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University. She is a paralegal, a super-mom and an advocate for mothers who have lost a child to Chicago gun violence. Rekeia loves reading books and takes pride in helping others.