Meet Sarah Aldridge, Summer ’17 UELIP

Sarah_Aldridge

DCPS Office: Office of Teaching and Learning, Advanced and Enriched Instruction
Education: Rising Senior at Appalachian State University
Program of Study/Major: Political Science
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

I chose to be a part of the UELIP program because I wanted to supplement my educational and policy experiences with a strong understanding of the work it takes at the local level to make our schools run efficiently and equitably. As I hope to go into a career in education policy, it makes sense to try my best to learn what will happen with the policy that is passed at federal, state, and local levels as it is implemented across large urban districts like the District of Columbia.

I’m working on a number of projects with the Advanced and Enriched Instruction team this summer. Currently, I’m working on redesigning our Canvas page to make resources more accessible to teachers throughout the District, as well as updating our Academic Competitions website to provide more opportunities to challenge and engage DCPS students. Throughout the summer I will also have the opportunity to spend time visiting DCPS summer learning programs, as well as doing research on best practices in advanced instruction for students at the AP and Pre-AP level.

A typical day at DCPS includes shadowing my supervisors at a number of meetings or campus visits, working on my projects, and bonding with other UELIPs sitting nearby! I’ve never done any web design or graphic design before, so working with our Canvas page and the Academic Competitions page has been a wonderful learning experience! I’ve learned that I work best when I’m really passionate about my projects. Knowing that everything I work on as a UELIP is going to directly improve the efficiency and equity of the District of Columbia’s Public School System, whether by assisting teachers in accessing and using high-quality resources or providing background research to the decisions that central office makes, has greatly increased my passion for the work I’m doing as a UELIP and makes me excited to head to the office every morning.

Visiting the schools, attending Professional Development workshops, and getting to talk to DCPS teachers has been such a rewarding experience. Since I changed my major from Education during my first year of college, I haven’t had as much time to talk one-on-one with teachers and see what the classroom experience is like, and I’ve learned some lessons that I will carry with me for a while throughout this first month! There are so many interesting people in Central Office, and it’s frustrating to know that it will be impossible to get to know everyone this summer.

Currently, my most urgent aspiration is to get accepted to a study abroad program at the University of Helsinki, Finland, for my last semester of my undergraduate career! After that, I look forward to joining the work force and finding a position that will allow me to engage with schools, education policy, and issues of equity and diversity. I’d love to go to graduate school and receive my Masters of Public Policy, and then continue to work in a way that will give back to my community and improve the educational experiences of students, regardless of their backgrounds.

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