Do you remember what your High School years were like?
Would you say it was a good memory…
Or a bad one?
In just a minute you will hear from two students how one teacher (Susan Gettys) is making a difference in their lives, not just academically…
And how she is turning their aspirations into realities.
But first, let’s go into a little background on the school itself, and why we are passionate about our students.
Classes were changing at The Broach School in Tampa…
and veteran teacher Susan Gettys was busy steering students to their proper classrooms.
With only a few weeks before the end of the school year, the notorious “spring fever” had set in for some students who lingered in the hallway.
“Come on, let’s go gentlemen and ladies!” Gettys called.
She looked into a classroom.
“OK, who else is in there?” she said. “Let’s go.”
Within moments the students were in the proper classrooms and Gettys relaxed with a grin.
Of the 90 or so students at Broach Tampa in 2016-17…
- 18 were on the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program for lower-income families
- 4 were on the Gardiner Scholarship for students with certain special needs
…”Step Up For Students” helps manage both scholarships.
The school has been in Tampa since 2000 and at its current location on Linebaugh Avenue since 2013, according to Principal Sonia Anderson. She said word-of-mouth advertising has been responsible for the school’s growth. This year’s enrollment was more than double last year’s.
“I think it’s the love and commitment we have with our families,” Principal Sonia Anderson said. “We do more than just teach. We feed them if they’re hungry, clothe them if they need it. My staff does it from the heart, not just for a paycheck. Some of our current students have cousins and other family members that went here 15 years ago.”
Besides having an inclusive environment with small class sizes that offer students more individual attention…Broach Tampa has graduated many students who go on to college.
“We have autistic kids who have gone onto college,” Gettys said.
“We have (former students in college) all over the place. One young man couldn’t read a lick when he got here; he was in ninth grade and could not read. But we have an American history book in graphic novel form and that’s when he got it. He’s in college now. Stories like that are why I love this school so much. Once a kid finds reading, there’s no stopping them.”
“Stories like that are why I love this school so much. Once a kid finds reading, there’s no stopping them.”
Many students at Broach Tampa, who have previously attended public schools, were either…
- Got lost in a sea of other students
- Didn’t perform well
- Got bullied.
Seventeen-year-old Emanuel Gonzalez moved to Tampa from Cuba several years ago with his mother.
Naturally quiet, he struggled to fit in at a large neighborhood school.
His mother learned about and applied for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, and Enmanuel was accepted.
He has attended Broach Tampa since 2012.
“The people around me (at school) are much better to be around,” Enmanuel said. “I like that the classes are smaller and if you ask the teacher a question, they try and work with you.”
“I like that the classes are smaller and if you ask the teacher a question, they try and work with you.”
Enmanuel said he most enjoys English, history and American government…
but is considering a career in computer programming.
Amani Santana, a 17-year-old 10th-grader, has attended the school for about a year.
She previously attended an overcrowded public high school in Tampa, where she struggled academically and socially.
Amani said she is relieved that her primary guardian Jenny Fillmore learned about the tax-credit scholarship; her younger sister Abagail also attends Broach Tampa on the scholarship.
“A lot of the teachers here are more hands-on and they really take the time to help you,” Amani said…
“A lot of the teachers here are more hands-on and they really take the time to help you,”
adding that she most enjoys cooking, sewing and science classes.
“I want to go to go into a culinary school that also teaches business so I can open a bakery in New York,” she said.
“When I went to New York, I didn’t see a whole lot of bakeries and a lot people like pastries.”
Gettys, who taught in Tampa public schools before coming to Broach Tampa 12 years ago, has confidence the school can help turn Enmanuel’s and Amani’s aspirations into realities.
She and the school’s other teachers understand their students well enough to know when they need to be pushed academically and when to ease up – but always in a positive manner.
Once a straight-F student in middle school…
Gettys said she remembers the commitment shown her by teachers at a small school in rural Florida. Broach Tampa reminds her of that school.
“We have a family atmosphere here,”
“We have a family atmosphere here,” she said.
“All of our parents know first-hand what’s going on and we do several events each year for the families.”
Fillmore, Amani’s guardian, is thankful for the opportunities Amani has enjoyed at Broach Tampa.
…That school has been a Godsend.”
“She’s having no struggles now, none,” she said. “They’ve both been doing great. It’s the best school they’ve ever been in. I could go on and on about it. That school has been a Godsend.”
Original Article by Geoff Fox