Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden


Adequate Yearly Progress is an extraordinary look into a year in the lives of teachers and administrators at a high school in Texas.  It shows the pressures which are put on teachers having their students score high enough on the yearly standardized test and the complications this pressure puts on them, administrators whose livelihood depends on high scores and the students.

Although filled with humor, the book explores the teacher’s perspectives, both good and bad, in their classes, their relationships with other teachers as well as their relationships with their students and the administration.

At Brae Hill Valley High School a new curriculum is introduced on the first day of classes to hopefully increase standardized test scores at the end of the year.  Not many of the teachers are happy about the changes.

Lena Wright is an English teacher with a flair for poetry.  Because she is not from Brae Hill she is looked down upon by some of the faculty and the students.  She will face many challenges this year, both personal and professional.

Hernan Hernandez is a biology teacher whose students love him.  His classroom, a welcoming zone to both students and teachers has a classroom filled with plants.  Bucking the system Hernan has never joined the teacher’s union.  Sees no reason to.  And he has a crush on Lena.

Maybelline Galang is a math teacher, a single parent whose daughter (with the physical education teacher) illegally goes to school in another school district.  Everything in Maybelline’s life is organized and by the book.  There is no coloring outside the lines.  She cannot tolerate either the teachers or administrators who slack off. And because of her, someone will not be coming back the following year.

Kaytee Mahoney is a history teacher with a secret blog.  At the beginning of the year the blog is filled with inspiring dialogue.  Until she is involved in an incident which will not only shake her to her core, but will make her question whether she is even in the right profession.

The story puts into perspective the dilemma teachers and administrators have as to teaching to pass a test versus teaching to learn. It shows the trials and tribulations of dealing with difficult children as well as what this type of pressure can do to their personal lives.

Thank you Atria Books (Isabel DaSilva) for the advanced copy.  What a treat!

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