Chana Stewart

State and City of Residence:
Mountain View, CA

Job Description: 
Kindergarten & First Grade Teacher

Why do you work in education?
Teaching is my passion for personal, intellectual, and social justice reasons. I teach because I love children and watching their development. I teach because it allows me to be a lifelong learner, encountering challenges and opportunities for growth. But most of all, I teach so that I can inspire students to discover their own gifts, to follow their curiosity, and to build the skills and knowledge that will empower them. I believe that creating a learning community where all students become compassionate individuals, active citizens, critical thinkers, and thoughtful problem solvers will equip them to improve the world around them. I deeply believe that education has the power to shape and change students’ lives and that is why I became an educator. 

Tell us about something that you have done in education that you feel has made or will make a big difference for your community?
One way I have impacted our community is by developing systems to facilitate strong school-family partnerships. I have focused on creating structures for educators and families to collaborate in purposeful and meaningful ways to improve student educational outcomes. We begin the year with listening conferences in which each family is invited to share their expertise on their child with the teacher. We invite families into our classrooms to share in reading and writing celebrations, science engineering challenges, and family math game nights. We collaborate with families to set communal goals. As a result of developing meaningful school-family partnerships, families feel equipped to advocate for and support their students throughout their education, which has a significant impact on students’ achievement. 

What’s your favorite part about being an America Achieves Fellow?
My favorite part about being an America Achieves Fellow is the opportunity to connect with incredible educators across the country. I love collaborating with fellow educators and learning from one another. 

If you could change just one thing about our current education system, what would it be?
I would ensure that all students have access to high-quality preschool education. Early childhood education is critical in laying the foundation for a child’s development. High quality preschool develops students’ social and emotional skills, cognitive thinking skills, as well as language and literacy skills. I believe this key educational opportunity should be accessible to all students, regardless of socioeconomic status. 

What is your other favorite thing to do (besides education, or course!)?
I love to go hiking and backpacking. Spending time out in nature fills my soul! 

What is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is my students. They inspire me every day. 

What is one book every educator must read?
Mindset by Carol Dweck