Every year at DP YOU, we come together as a network to learn from each other and celebrate the culture and values of Democracy Prep. This year we’re recognizing the teachers, academic and operational leaders (and more) who make up the DREAM team by sharing how they’ve excelled in their schools and why they #WorkAtDP.

Ashley Glover is a founding teacher at Freedom Prep High (FPH). She teaches Literature III and IV and serves as the ELA Department Chair.

Ashley Glover joined Freedom Prep High as a founding teacher five years ago because she wanted to make a difference. She did not have highly engaging teachers when she was in high school, and she wanted her scholars to have a different experience.

So now, as a Literature teacher, Ashley’s classroom is vibrant, engaging, and full of scholar discussion. Sometimes she has to beg scholars not to read ahead in the text so that her lessons will still be relevant. She pushes her scholars to connect each text to their own experience and today’s historical context.

“They take one text and transform it into something they can actually apply, regardless of whether it’s MacBeth, 1984, or Invisible Man,” said Ashley. “They can think about how their identity or their individual self fits within that construct and what that means for today’s construct.”

Just as Ashley teaches because she wants to make a difference in the lives of scholars, she in turn, wants to show her scholars that they have what it takes to make changes of their own. She believes that with engaging instruction and a passion for literacy, scholars will develop the critical thinking skills needed to examine themselves and the world around them. Armed with their individuality, brilliance and ability to critically examine the world, they will be able to make a difference.

“I talk about all world events with my scholars,” said Ashley. “I want to talk about Trump. I want to talk about Brett Kavanaugh. I want to talk about the NFL. I want to talk about everything because I want them to be able to form their own opinions, and I want them to go into this world able to take a stance and support that stance and stand up for themselves.”

Freedom Prep graduated its first senior class last year, and the scholars selected Ashley to speak at their graduation. Ashley’s connection with her scholars was palpable, even when she was on stage speaking and they were in the audience. When her name was announced, the scholars’ cheers were deafening. They hung on her every word while she spoke. One of Ashley’s beliefs about teaching is that cultivating a relationship with scholars is key.

“When you build relationships with scholars, you get the opportunity to become someone they want to have these conversations with, and you see them grow their analytical skills,” said Ashley. “When…they leave my classroom, the most important thing is that they’ve left with the skill of critical thinking and can be their own person and make a difference through that understanding.”

Ms. Glover’s first group Democracy Prep scholars, who are now in their freshman year of college, are doing just that.