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Grand Park Center Teacher of the Week

3:48 PM, Dec 7, 2010   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When students get kicked out of school for fighting or bad behavior they still need a place to learn.  Our Teacher of the Week is faced with the challenge of teaching math to Duval County's at-risk teens.   

Valerie Kasper is the intensive and upper mathematics teacher at Grand Park Alternative School.  She gets a new student almost every day. Most will stay at this school for 45 to 90 days.

"Every single student here comes from a different background and comes from a different school and is here for a specific amount of time," said Kasper. 

Dashanai Seabrooks is an 11th grader. She's been here since March but she's enjoyed being at this school because her grades have improved. "Ms. Kasper is a nice teacher. She's wonderful actually because I don't like math, but Ms. Kasper helped me learn a lot of stuff about math."

With new students coming in all the time, Kasper has to try to help different students at various levels. She does this by putting the students into small groups.  "It's challenging for sure to say the least but I try to get them all caught up. If they've been out of school I get them caught up where they were."

Kasper became a teacher because it's in her family. Her mother was a math teacher.  "I really like math and science and that's why I'm doing every day. I really like being in the classroom. I really like working with kids. I like giving advice and helping and being a role model."

While Kasper has taught for only two years, she is impacting the lives of her students through education and by being a positive role model.   

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