-By Joshua Lumley
Joshua Lumley teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science and AP Chemistry at IDEA Frontier College Preparatory in Brownsville, Texas. Read about his growth as a teacher and the positive impact he is having on his students and their college readiness.
At IDEA Public Schools, I cherish the opportunity to work with seniors and athletes, all of whom are on a path to and through college. As a 12th grade AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science teacher, I have the opportunity to challenge my students with the structure and content of a true college-level class. My scholars and I are unified in the goal to be truly college-ready on graduation day.
At IDEA, I’ve also learned to champion the soft skills in class—how to absorb information when reading a textbook, what it really means to study, how to memorize information, how to Google® a lecture for additional understanding. In addition to ample college credit under their belt, my scholars will step foot on a college campus with essential rhetorical and research skills they need to be successful, curious, and independent learners.
IDEA partners with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), a program that transforms Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education in America by training teachers to inspire students to succeed in rigorous math and science courses. NMSI has been the greatest asset to students’ success in my AP classes. Through the program, I communicated with an AP Chemistry mentor weekly and collaborated with her in the use of power points and specific exams that I incorporated into my classes curriculum. During my AP Summer Institute, my Environmental Science course leader shared her resources, pacing guide, and tried-and-true practices to ensure we had access to tools we needed to be great teachers.
In addition to the opportunity I have to help shape the lives of my students, working at IDEA has also enabled me to develop professionally. At IDEA, I’m valued as an individual. When I first started at IDEA Frontier College Preparatory in 2012, I expressed a desire to get involved with coaching athletics, and within one year, I was coaching the two sports I felt most passionate about—cross-country and track & field. Meanwhile, in the classroom, I was able to teach the subject I’d always wanted to teach, and I’d gotten to know my principal on a first name basis. Mr. Alex Anzaldua, principal at IDEA Frontier College Preparatory, took the time to sit with me, encourage my ideas and professional growth, and challenged me to be the best teacher I could be (and he still does today). This is the type of leadership that IDEA fosters at each of its schools. As an IDEA teacher, I continuously grow professionally and receive feedback on how to improve my teaching and interpersonal relationships at incredible rates, and in a positive and nurturing environment. I have an excellent coach who meets with me weekly and communicates with me daily to ensure I am as prepared as possible to provide my students the high-quality education they deserve.
IDEA sets very high expectations for both, students and teachers. We achieve stellar results because our classes are hands-on and inquiry-driven courses. My scholars take extreme interest in the labs and rigor on a daily basis, and I’m privileged to see monumental strides in their math levels and problem-solving abilities.
I have no doubt that the resources, development and coaching I receive at IDEA are having a tremendous impact on me and my students. In fact, more than half of my students each year reported a desire to study science in college. Not only are my scholars passionate, they’re highly successful. As a district, IDEA AP Chemistry students have achieved unprecedented results, consistently scoring above the national average on the AP Chemistry exam, and low-income and Latino students at IDEA are excelling at a rate much higher than the national average. This gives me hope that the dream of educational equity is attainable.
Join Joshua and become a great teacher who inspires students at IDEA Public Schools. Application deadlines are: January 16th, February 27th, and April 3rd. Apply now!