By Melissa Alvarez and Isabella Mezzaroba
At most high schools, lots of teachers change from year to year, but this year at SLA there’s only one new staff member on board.
History Teacher Jason Todd, who has seven years of teaching under his belt, came to SLA from Charles Carroll High School in Port Richmond. Carroll High School was one of the schools that was closed by the Philadelphia School District at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.
Mr. Todd attended University of Pennsylvania while obtaining his master’s degree in education. During this time he lived in West Philadelphia. Currently he’s been living in Northeast Philadelphia for the past seven years.
Mr. Todd heard about SLA’s open position through a process called Site Selection.
“I logged onto the School District’s website and saw the list of all the schools in the city that had openings for Social Studies and I saw Science Leadership was one of them and I clicked the box,” Todd said
Soon after, Mr. Todd received an email from Mr. Lehman offering a job interview. The day of, it turned out he was in for a pleasant surprise.
“Mr. Kay was there and it was weird because Mr. Kay and I went to middle school together,” he said with a chuckle. He wasn’t expecting any familiar faces.
Though still making the transition from black boards to laptops, Todd is already amazed by the ownership students take over their projects.
“The biggest thing about SLA, I think, is the technology and just the way students come into the classroom expecting to be the ones doing the work,” Todd said.
Overall, he is settling into the community with ease.
Mr. Todd is taking over for former history teacher, Juan-Gabriel Sanchez, who moved to Boston to pursue a graduate degree in Education. Sanchez taught 9th and 10th grade History, the position that Todd has now taken over.
“He’s coming from a very different school and needs to adjust to SLA’s way of doing things and to basically adjust the philosophy there,” Sanchez said.
Though Sanchez believes Todd has a lot of growing to do as a teacher, he has high hopes that he’ll do well as his replacement.
“His underlying goals and motivations are very much in line with what SLA is and aspires to be,” Sanchez said.
When asked, students also responded positively to Mr. Todd. They believe that he has potential as an SLA teacher.
“I think that in the last few weeks he is starting to understand how we work better. The first few weeks he was very district like,” said Sophomore Kristina Scalia-Jackson.
“Compared to Ms. Jonas, he is adapting at a slower pace but in time, he will get used to it.”
Other sophomores agree.
“I think he is adjusting well, though there is always room for improvement which I think will happen over the course of the year,” Sophomore Gina Sorgentoni said.
Freshmen also are excited about Mr. Todd’s African American history class.
“Our discussions are often fun and informative,” said Freshman Harrison Freed.
Overall, the SLA community seems to be welcoming Mr.Todd with open arms and expects him to fit in just fine.