Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards
K-12 Education

Teacher breaks records by building rapport

Jerry Giordano

Jerry Giordano answers students’ questions after class

Jerry Giordano started his teaching career three years ago as a science teacher at Detroit Leadership Academy Middle/High School. Educators at the Academy follow the same group of kids as they transition through grades, building familiarity and trust between teachers and students.

“For me, school was a safe place that created a sense of normalcy that wasn’t always found at home,” he says. “It takes a lot of intentional relationship building to create that safe space for kids. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

In his short time as an educator, Jerry has made a big impact in the classroom. His students have shown tremendous gains, beating the ACT science test growth score record held by students at Nobel, a Chicago charter school group that pins its reputation on impressive ACT growth rates. Jerry says the test gains will translate to college acceptance and scholarship letters for his students.

“I push my students really hard, but I do my best to make sure they understand why. They are so critical to the future of this city and to their families,” says Jerry. “Our kids absorb a lot of messages that make them feel less valued by society and I think that crushes their drive. They’re capable of more than they realize and it’s our job as educators to help them fulfill their potential. We make them our number one priority. If they are valued, pushed and supported, I believe they’ll do great things.”

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