Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Lancaster, TX/Lancaster ISD – Lancaster High School (LHS) Anatomy and Physiology teacher, Briana Peterson was selected as the Lancaster ISD’s Teach DFW Ambassador and joined hundreds of Dallas/Ft. Worth educators who convened at Southern Methodist University (SMU) for the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers Legacy Summit.
DFW school district administrators were asked to nominate teachers for the Extra Yard for Teachers program who was considered an excellent teacher or as someone who has great potential to become an excellent teacher. With this criteria, Peterson, who also an LHS class of 2010 graduate, was quickly chosen as the ambassador, although she is only in her second year of teaching.
“If someone had told me in high school that in four years I would come back and become an anatomy and physiology teacher I would’ve laughed. I wanted to become a doctor,” Peterson said. “But, I enjoyed motivating students in high school and remembered being at LHS really made me happy.”
The annual Extra Yard for Teachers Legacy Summit is a packed day of inspiring messages from speakers such as Google’s Chief Education Evangelist, Jaime Casap, activities and professional development sessions. Each program portion is meant to acknowledge and support those teachers nominated to participate.
“I had a great experience, spoke to other teachers from different districts, and meet with other ambassadors,” she said. “I found people with similar passions that I have and really like to participate in student outreach and give back to their community through teaching.”
The Extra Yard for Teachers initiative was created by the College Football Playoff Foundation, in 2014, as a way to honor the profession that helps student-athletes achieve success. The summit focuses on supporting teachers in three areas: direct provision of resources, teacher recognition, and professional development training. To date, the foundation has reached more than 40,000 teachers through the Extra Yard program.
“We had professional development sessions where we were able to talk about some key issues and even share some ideas that we implement at different districts to help our students,” Peterson said. “Participating in this summit helped me learn about new programs that would create new pathways for me and it helped me see that I am not limited as a teacher.”
Following the summit, Peterson will also participate in the newly launched program, TeachDFW.org, as an ambassador. Her next step is involvement in COMMIT!, an organization that connects districts in DFW with high school students and college juniors and seniors interested in the teaching profession.
“I will begin speaking with students, to share what it takes to be a teacher, and show what it looks like. I will also just them advice and guidance about getting into the teaching profession,” she said.
Peterson believes that being an educator and a Lancaster High School alumna could be an important source of motivation for some students.
“Students don’t really meet too many people who have actually graduated from their high school and returned as an employee, and I think they learned from me that it’s possible,” she said.
Although the summit is only a one-day annual event, the purpose is to create a long lasting impact on the young fresh-minded teachers who attend. This concept tightly aligns with the vision of Lancaster ISD that all students will achieve self-sustaining success and leave a lasting legacy.
“Now, I think, how can I get that guy that sits in the back of the classroom and doesn’t talk that much, break through to him, and get him to that same level,” Peterson said. “My goal now is to work to give our students more opportunities to show who they are, what they are and what they have to offer to the world.”