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January Alum of the Month: Cierra Jordan

Dec 10, 2018

Cierra Jordan, a 7th grade English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Oyler, a public school inCierra Jordan Photo Cincinnati, has been named January Alum of the Month.

 

Jordan, who graduated from The Patton College in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Middle Childhood Education, has helped facilitate a partnership between Oyler and Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

 

The goals of the partnerships are: (1): to teach literacy and provide a well-rounded education; (2) to create a continuous college and career pathway of skill-building and experiences related to journalism, including broadcast journalism, photojournalism, cartooning, business/commercial, etc; and (3) to create a prepared citizenry that is able to find and tell the truth and ensure the future of a free press.     

 

Oyler is located in Lower Price Hill, a low-income neighborhood with Urban Appalachian roots.

 

“I teach some of the most powerful, young voices in our society,” said Jordan. “My students have the passion and the drive to be successful, yet face so many adversities in their day-to-day lives. These adversities can become very overwhelming for them. Along with these struggles, many of my students do not have the supports in place to get them to the next step in their lives.”

 

Jordan believes this partnership could help change that.

“I think back to 8th grade when my parents drove me to college campuses and showed me the opportunities that existed if I worked hard and set goals,” said Jordan, a Dayton native who attended Stivers School for the Arts. “Being one of the first in my family to graduate from college, my goal is to show my students that they can create this legacy for their families, too.”

OHIO will have a hands-on relationship with Oyler. For example, Oyler would like to publish an online version of its student-run newspaper, The Oyler Griffin, to increase readership, so Dr. Robert Stewart, Scripps director, invited the Griffin staff to Athens to learn how to build a website. OHIO’s undergraduate students will assist throughout this process.

Oyler students have been going to OHIO’s summer camp for the past three years. One Oyler student previously attended a journalism workshop at OHIO and found the experience life-changing.

“I had no idea that writing could be a job – until the entire newspaper class was invited to a journalism workshop at Ohio University,” the student wrote. “There I met with other kids who shared my passion for journalism and creative writing. I also met people who had that passion and had turned it into a career. I remember thinking to myself that if they could do that, then I could break my boundaries and be successful. . . . I know now that I can do things that I'm interested in. I know that I am getting better as a writer. And I can't wait to go back to OU.”

These experiences are exactly what Jordan had in mind. This past summer, she attended the Experiential Learning Conference at Northeastern University in Boston, which showed teachers the importance of partnering with businesses and organizations to provide students with real-world experiences and opportunities.

Jordan worked with Darlene Kamine, director of Oyler’s Community Learning Center Institute, to procure the partnership with Scripps. Their goal was to shift away from textbooks and toward a hands-on approach to increase college and career readiness.

“As an alumni, I was thrilled to hear that Ohio University wanted to support our students and saw the potential that they possess,” said Jordan. “The partnership seemed like a perfect fit for our school, especially my middle school students.”

Jordan began her career as an Education Coordinator for The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati. She began teaching in 2012 and is working toward a master’s degree in Teacher as Leader at Georgetown College.

“My goals are to help our students while working to prepare our next generation of educators,” said Jordan. “I believe there is a real need for innovative and driven educators, and it is our responsibility to motivate and prepare these young teachers for success.”

Jordan said that The Patton College helped prepare her for her career.

“The Patton College introduced me to other passionate and supportive future teachers,” she said. “The students I met at OU were always ready to collaborate and plan. The College also had a number of professors that provided professional development and readings that I still reference to this day. The strategies taught were invaluable, and the resources provided gave the foundations for effective planning and differentiation.”

Oyler was the subject of the 2015 documentary, OYLER: One School, One Year, which explored the cycle of poverty plaguing the community.

“I see every one of my students as my own child, and I want nothing but the best for them,” said Jordan. “I see it as my mission and responsibility to show them how to be successful and passionate members of society.”

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