Dana Chambers
James Elementary School

What factors influenced your decision to become a teacher? Identify what you consider to be your greatest contributions to and accomplishments in education.
Many factors influenced me as I decided to become a teacher. My parents were the first to influence my decision to become a teacher. My father raised me to believe that I could do anything that I put my mind to complete. My mother was a stay at home mom who was involved in my school and active in my education. Both of my parents held education as a high priority for me. Second, I was influenced by my teachers. I had several teachers that provided a loving and nurturing environment. I had teachers that held me to high standards and believed in me. Because of the love that I received and the education I was given, I decided to teach. I was led to work in a profession where I can give back each and every day to the students in my classroom.

As a teacher, I find it important to build relationships with students and their families. It is essential to learn about each student. I hold my relationships with my students and their families near to my heart. It is a great accomplishment to come to know the students that I
teach. When I think about contributions to education, I think about all that I bring to my classroom. It is my goal to provide my students with every need so that they might be successful in learning. Many of my students struggle to have their basic needs met each day. They need basic supplies to complete their daily schoolwork. In 2014, I started writing grants with Donors Choose. I have successfully written and completed 22 grant projects for my classroom and school. Through grants and donations, my students have access to over $15,000 in materials and learning supplies. It brings me joy to give my students and my school what they need to be successful.

Describe a project or initiative that you have led or been involved with that contributed to increasing equity in education and opportunity for students in your school. What was your role in this project and what was the impact? 
In my work as a teacher, I strive to increase equity among the students in my school and my classroom. My students don’t always have what they need for successful learning. Students come to school hungry, cold, tired, and without basic needs daily. I do what I can to provide students with the basics. I have provided uniforms, coats, hats, gloves, shoes and backpacks. I buy school supplies and provide snacks. My students know that if they are in need, they can always ask me for anything. For many years I have been a part of School-Wide Positive Behavior Support. Through my work with SWPBIS, I have helped develop common expectations for the students in my school and classroom. As a Co-Chairperson, I have helped lead our staff and students in a positive manner that provides equal opportunities to succeed within our community.