When her daughter, Ayanna, was in pre-kindergarten at a public school, Juana couldn’t help but feel frustrated with her behavior. Ayanna naturally had a lot of energy, and it was a challenge for her to focus in the classroom. So Juana’s sister-in-law, who works at a school co-located with an Achievement First school, told her about the network, and Juana knew right away that it would be a great fit for Ayanna.

Since she started attending Achievement First Bushwick Elementary, Juana has noticed a dramatic shift in Ayanna. She loves to see her doing homework on her own because she’s learned the importance of getting her work done. Ayanna has also excelled in group participation and leadership. She’s known for pushing her classmates—and herself—to do their best, and she always has insightful contributions to group projects..

As a parent, Juana especially values Achievement First’s “open school policy,” which encourages parents to drop in any time. She appreciates both the teachers’ and principal’s dedication to openness and family involvement. She’s seen firsthand how hard the AF “Team & Family” works, and their constant investment is evident in Ayanna’s continued development. Although it’s still in the distant future for Ayanna, Juana knows her daughter is being prepared for the demands of college and the work force beyond.

Favorite aspect of Achievement First: “I love the teachers. As soon as they see a student struggling, they take the time and make sure they catch up.”

Proudest moment at Achievement First: “My proudest momentactually stems from Ayanna making a bad decision. She made a mess at a teacher’s parents’ house, and didn’t clean it up very well. The teacher told Ayanna it would be hard to fully trust her again. A few weeks later, I found out that Ayanna had sought out the teacher’s parents and made heartfelt personal apologies to both of them, without any adult intervention. To know that, and to know how it changed the teacher’s view of Ayanna, made me so proud.”

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