Adequate Yearly Progress

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

The novel takes place in Brae Hill Valley, a public high school in Texas. It is an interesting story which serves as a social commentary in the educational system in the United States. The multiple narrative style serves as an interesting backdrop to the story. It is lighthearted and witty and it gives you a glimpse into what it's like to be a classroom teacher.
I think it would make a fabulous present for a friend who is a teacher.
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The author's writing style I think is what got me through this book. She writes in a way that's entertaining, keeps the story moving forward at a good pace, and is easily digestible. After some time to think about the story the characters themselves were simply okay for me. However, the struggles the students, teachers, schools, and school district were facing are incredibly relevant and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read this book.
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Well, this hit close to home! If you have ever worked as a teacher, you will completely relate to the ridiculous initiatives, the inexperienced "experts," and every single thing that Elden skews about school culture. It's a satirical novel about education but I actually recommend it for people who aren't teachers. In some ways it is too real for teachers to be able to laugh about. Read it and hug a teacher.
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This is a story of a public school in Texas and their extremely hard year. Hard, not just for the students but for the teachers and the administrative board. There is a new publicity loving superintendent on board, someone with ties to money involved elsewhere in the education 'industry'. I do not have any direct involvement with teaching other than having been a student myself but hardly anyone would deny that a good teacher with the zeal to inspire their students are rare and need to be commended. In this book ordinary people try to do the best they know how to while facing hurdles that so many teachers out there must face on a daily basis.

I am normally put off by swearing in books, but I could ignore the instances that they occur here! The story is narrated by multiple people, and this might not be everyone's cup of tea but it certainly was mine. The cast and my feelings about them goes something like this.

Lena is an English teacher by day and a poet every other time, I may not have understood her poetry but the emotion behind them were pretty clear. She may seem smart but she does make some mistakes in her personal life and although her year may not be full of triumphs, there are many learning moments.
Hernan is Lena's closest friend in school. They hang out at happy hour and try to make the other laugh. He was my favourite character because of the interesting variations between his feelings for Lena, his excitement in teaching and his green thumb as well as the brief glimpse of his family.
Maybelline is not a person you can like, she is strict and by the book to the point of annoyance. She does not have any friends around her but even she can surprise you when she finally draws the line.
Kaytee Mahoney is a type of idealist, young and brimming with things she wants to do. She wants to make a difference and her enthusiasm may get tempered in the year that they have but it does not get vanquished. She was a study of contrasts as she is always analysing her surroundings, events and herself.
Coach Ray is a typical coach who does not take time out to second guess his role and his behaviour. Situations get so complicated that even he is forced to reassess his life.
Last but not the least we have the well-meaning Principal, Dr. Miguel Barrios who tries his hardest to make the best of a terrible situation.
There are so many others who contribute their bit to the entire story but we do not have the privilege of listening to their private thoughts.
When the year begins the school is slowly asked to follow an increasing number of slogans and pithy targets which may not be practical in reality. The epilogue was kind of funny and made my reading experience feel complete. Although on the surface this story is not really my usual fare, I enjoyed the people, flaws and all trying to keep afloat amongst bureaucracy.  I felt both weary and angry by the end. This may be a story of a school based in the US but I am sure all around the world there must be many similar cases and that does not feel like a very happy thought. Overall I recommend this book to anyone who found all the above interesting.
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This book was a delight. As an educator of 22 years I found myself thinking in the early pages “this author MUST be a teacher.” There’s wit and insight I think one only has access to if they have lived in this world. I’ve already recommended it to several teacher friends, and it’s making its way through our ranks.
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4.5 stars

I have watched all the major career dramas of today that one can name, but never have I read one before...and overall, I have to say that I really loved the experience.

The novel is written from the perspectives of several different teachers (including the principal) of a public inner-city high school in Texas and explores their struggles with changing board-mandated expectations, weak academic culture among students, and balancing their personal lives. 

In immersing its readers into the lives of these teachers and institutional setting, this novel exposes a myriad of issues ranging from the flawed education system itself to the cycle of poverty in low-income communities and the modern day racial divide in southern America. It was especially interesting to see the way different archetypes of teachers responded to each of these situations and the pre-conceived notions that they themselves held in their inner-monologue.

While I initially found it hard to keep up with the sheer number of characters and names mentioned, I really grew to love the realistically unique voice that each character contributed. I never found myself skimming through some perspectives to see the fruition of another, I was equally engaged with every narrator.

If there is one major takeaway from this novel, it is a deeper sympathy towards teachers...they do so much.
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Thank you for the opportunity to review "Adequate Yearly Progress." I'm sorry to say that I did not enjoy this book. While the writing was somewhat entertaining, the author's depictions of characters of color left a lot to be desired. I felt the author drew on stereotypes in a way that, particularly as a white person, were inappropriate and missed the mark. It seemed that this story could have more easily been told in the voice of characters that match the author's own lived experience, as opposed to drawing conclusions about marginalized groups.
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Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the outrageous situations that arise in the high school described in this novel.  While the characters may be caricatures, they are certainly based on real types of educators, for better and worse.  Especially skewered are the bureaucratic preoccupation with test scores and all of the demands placed on classroom staff.  For those who don't work in schools, this novel will either make you sympathetic to the plight of teachers or make you disgusted with some of the antics.
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Roxanna Elden creates a realistic story in Adequate Yearly Progress. I read this book in one day and was entertained and yet, saddened by how accurate this book is in regards to the state of education.

I am a teacher. I know that all of these facets exist but I am so busy doing my job that it is easy to gloss over these facts. Adequate Yearly Progress is what I imagine a teacher survey of concerns would entail. My colleagues and I often lament about the fact that people with no background in education somehow find their way into positions of authority, just as Elden demonstrates in her book. When a new initiative is introduced, we all know that this is a for now mandate. Within two years, the next best thing will implemented and the policy replaced abandoned without thought. This book beautifully told the story of students that struggle both personally and academically and the true failures of education mentioned above.

The writing is engaging and I could easily relate to the characters. I personally enjoyed the fact that the main characters, Lena and Hernand, were POC. Lena's poetry was a high point for me. There are moments of humor, cattiness and camaraderie that are highly entertaining. The faculty meetings were my favorite scenes. This book is great. I am new to Roxanna Elden but will quickly be purchasing her earlier book, See Me After Class. 

I think that educators will most relate to the book but even if you are not in the education field, Adequate Yearly Progress is worth your time. Don’t miss out!
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Honestly this book is brilliant and yet sometimes so hard to read. As a high school English teacher of 19 years, I find myself nodding my head at so many things in this novel and I think that's what makes it a challenge--sometimes reading this felt like my teaching day was being extended rather than providing me an escape from it all. I suppose that really speaks to the truth and value of this fictional world--it holds many truths, unfortunately some that probably seem exaggerated to the public but all of us teachers know it's as bad, if not worse that what's depicted. 

Solid read. 
Absolutely spot on when it comes to the life of a high school teacher and all the ridiculous, sad, and funny things that that life contains,
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I found this book to be very compelling. It actually did a nice job of bringing to light some of the many, many frustrations and joys that come with teaching, especially teaching in a public school. I've been a teacher for 19 years and the author really does "get it". The hopes and dreams we all enter into the teaching field with and what happens to them when they meet reality. There were times as I was reading that I felt every frustration, overwhelmed feeling, and disappointment along with the characters. It drew me in. There are two things that I'd like to point out specifically. First, I thought the author also did a good job of making the administrators (at least at the building level) seem real as well. It's easy to point fingers at admins any time there's a new mandate, law, or requirement to be followed by classroom teachers. But in reality, there are many times when the administrators have no choice in the matter either. Second, I did feel as I read that there was not quite enough moments of joy shown. As much as the frustrations are there daily, there are big and little moments all the time with students that make it worth doing what we do. Overall, an enlightening read especially for anyone who is not in public education.
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Adequate Yearly Progress is set in Brae Hill High School, Texas. We follow a handful of teachers as a new school year starts with some interesting changes, a new superintendent takes over and introduces 'believer scores' a new way of measuring staff performances alongside test results.


The book captures and emphasises the types of characters one usually encounters in schools, the enthusiastic new teacher who tries to start each lesson with a 'fun' activity to get students engaged; the well meaning who just wants to get through lessons with most of the students listening and the procedure driven data  enthusiast who always hands in their paper work earlier than needed to show everyone else up to name a few.  They're generally well rounded and I liked that the book focused on the teachers lives outside of school as well as inside.


I have a lot of teachers in my family so many of the OOT processes described in this fictional novel reminded me of similar initiatives I've seen come and go in real life.   I gave this three stars because for me the plot was a bit slow in places, I do think that for the right person this could make a great gift, potentially giving any teachers in your life a break from another 'Worlds Best Teacher' mug.
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"Adequate Yearly Progress" is set in a public school and is written with rotating perspectives in each chapter; the reader is able to see the different sides and to experience things through the eyes of several teachers and administrators. Whilst the myriad of problems are dealt with respect, Elden does not shy away from the darkly humorous idiocy of many decisions. The story shows the struggles of administration and of teachers, who try to abide by the rules while still actually educate. 

Elden has captured the teaching experience in the narrative structure of conventional fiction; one of the most accurate and sincere portrayals of teaching and the struggles of maintaining a personal life while balancing work.
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While sometimes it was hard to keep track of all the character threads and other characters appear to have gotten shorted on "screen time," I enjoyed this look at Texan high school staff trying to keep up with the latest educational fads. I enjoyed the clever use of edu-speak as chapter headings.
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Brilliant satire about life in a failing public high school. While quite funny in some parts, it’s also very sad because you know there are teachers and students facing the same issues faced in this book. Well written and informative, almost impossible to put down. This book should be required reading for everyone in this country. This book will make you want to hug the next teacher you see and thank them for everything they do.
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Unending grading, student apathy, test taking requirements- just a few things that public teachers must contend with beyond just actual teaching. 
In Adequate Yearly Progress, Elden describes the school year and all its struggles through the eyes of five teachers at a school in Texas. 
Elden is very accurate in her description of the struggles that public teachers face every year, even adding a bit of humor. The story was a little slow paced, though.
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I've read a few books this year based on the subject of education in America, and this one by Roxanna Elden is head and shoulders above the rest. Her multi-culti characters and plot-lines are relatable, the dialog engaging, and each of the multiple points of view equally fun to follow. The setting is Brae Hill Valley High School in Texas, staffed by Dr. Barrios the beleaguered principal, Kaytee the TeachCorps newbie who gains blogging celebrity as TheMysteryHistoryTeacher, Lena the slam poet remedial English teacher transplanted from Philadelphia, Hernan Hernandez the dedicated nice guy science teacher, Maybelline the anal math teacher, Coach Ray and many more whose struggles include but are not limited to over-testing, unionizing, athletics, burn out, lesson plans, politics, economics, and parenting.
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There’s no surprise that this author was also a teacher, because it is clear that she ‘gets it’!

From the daily of getting kids on a roll, ‘A-Ha!’ moments, then bureaucratic BS gets in the way.. announcements, writing BS on the board instead of focusing on what the kids need and addressing that,
administration that is more concerned with their status than actual students & learning, or those who have become ‘experts’ and consultants after only teaching for 2 years! 

Elden has it all covered from the negative teachers that placate administration and are beasts to the kids, teachers whose entire life is the job and it’s endless paperwork to finally those teachers who ‘get it’ and do what their students need while reconfiguring the hoops they have to jump thru to fit that need..and of course, the much needed Friday Happy Hour!

Elden nails a conglomeration of teachers’ professional lives with their personal lives, and in them we find pieces of ourselves. This is a fabulous read for any teacher or teachers’ family members, as it resonates so honestly with our realities.
In the teachers’ spirit of sharing great lessons, thank you Roxanne and Carlos for the crow-themed science lesson, which my class will be doing next week!
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Timely, lucid, and hilarious, Adequate Yearly Progress charts a year in teaching at a Texas high school dealing with another superstar non-teacher teaching guru in charge. Elden's experience as a teacher shines through, and her sympathy for the characters lifts what might just be called 'Overhead in the Teacher's Lounge' to a smooth narrative.
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This was an exceptional read which included complex characters struggling with the daily demands of teaching and a home life. 
The author created a smorgasbord of daily realistic occurrences in a school environment including the ever annoying and disruptive PA announcements to testing scores related to teachers’ evaluations. 
This was truly an engaging story that will make many readers’ day a bit more entertaining.
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