Chavez Teacher Jeanette Scott Named Chicanos Por La Causa Esperanza Award Winner
Posted by Community Relations Department at 9/25/2013
Jeanette Fernandez Scott, a Cesar Chavez math teacher, has been selected as a 2013 Chicanos Por La Causa Esperanza Award winner, honoring Latino teachers who inspire students of all backgrounds, play an active role in the school, and demonstrate a true commitment to the community.
Scott is one of four educators who will be recognized at a dinner ceremony, October 10, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. Each of the honorees will receive a $5,000 stipend and a $2,500 donation to their respective schools.
Scott is the math department instructional leader at the school, which is 96% minority, including 72% Latino. Despite her outstanding teaching skills and content knowledge that would befit an Advanced Placement instructor, she assigns herself to the challenging classes-freshmen algebra and working with upperclassmen who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to pass the AIMS Math test. She tutors many students daily during the school’s advisory period, holds special math camps during fall and spring breaks, contacts parents, and holds students and teachers accountable. With Scott at the math helm, Cesar Chavez has turned in three consecutive B State Letter Grades and Performing Plus labels prior to that.
“Jeanette is a wonderful role model for all students, but particularly the Latinos, as they see a successful Latina who came from a background very similar to theirs, and who faced challenges to which they can relate,” said colleague Christine Ching who nominated Scott for the award.
Scott started her professional career as a computer programmer and data analyst, so a change of career meant going back to school, a significant cut in pay, more demands and connecting with kids. Besides academics, Scott takes a personal interest in referring students with challenges to appropriate social services, financial aid and community resources. She impacts students beyond graduation, keeping tabs on former students, and sometimes teaching them again at community colleges where she is an adjunct professor.
“I have enjoyed it way more than I thought. I love the kids I work with. I feel like I am giving back, and making a difference. Education is the way out, the door to so much more. Sometimes these students have no other advocate other than their teacher,” said Scott, who is in her 10th year at Chavez.
“Getting kids motivated, and working with them in the trenches every day can be overwhelming, but when they come up to you later and say, ‘I wouldn’t have graduated if it wasn’t for you,’ that is the biggest pay day for me.”
Scott is the fifth Esperanza winner from Phoenix Union, joining Julio Rubio, South Mountain (2012); Selina Alonzo, Maryvale and Guadalupe Meza, South Mountain (2010) and Vanessa Valenzuela, Carl Hayden (2009).