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Adequate Yearly Progress

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Member Reviews

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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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Lena is a teacher in a low performing school where a for-profit company has taken over curriculum.  Great read for teachers who will relate to the "latest and greatest" approach to education..

I highly recommend this novel.
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It's really hard to give this book only three stars.  I read it on the heels of finding out that, as a librarian who TEACHES CLASSES, I'm not eligible for performance bonuses by our school district.  It's a tough blow and a lot of money I won't see.  No matter how long I'm in the library, I was a classroom teacher long enough to never NOT feel like one. I was a highly effective teacher every single year, but suddenly, as a librarian, I'm nothing to my district administration.  And even though that's not Roxanna Elden's, nor her beautiful book's, fault, it affects my feelings and review on this book.  
This book is witty and clever.  It has descriptive, interesting prose. It has twists you might not see coming.  The only thing is...it's accurate.  Too accurate to be enjoyable reading for me.  Educators today face unbelievable obstacles.  We are asked to climb mountains without any provisions or supplies.  We are asked to finish every race in first place without funding and support to maintain our race cars.  We take, on our shoulders, the responsibility of the whole child, often providing what is lacking at home.  And that is more than work.  And often, more than one mama, teacher, person can handle.  This book highlights all that and tries to add levity and humor to lighten that load.  And it succeeds!  I just can't laugh.  I can't relax into it and enjoy it.  It's too real and too sad.  It's too much reality.   
But this is a creative book.  Major kudos to Roxanna Elden for being able to expertly write lightheartedness and amusement into the dire situation of today's public education.  Many will be able to do what I can't and will really enjoy this book.
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I’ve never read a book that reminded me so much of the teachers in my life. Elden managed to capture the struggles of working in education all while sharing the highs. Her use of humour allowed for a reader to easily relate to the situations that Lena and her cohorts are faced with as they are forced to undergo the systemic changes that the new “hotshot” superintendent imposes. I would 100% recommend this book to anyone who has either worked in or knows of anyone who has been apart of the public education system.
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I am a teacher in a public school and have been for the past sixteen years. It is like someone sat in my school, every day, for all these years, and then wrote a documentary.

And this is fiction.

I can’t rave about this book enough. I loved it. I hated it. I laughed out loud and quoted passages to other teacher friends and teared up at passages detailing the struggles of students.

Every teacher should read this. Everyone curious about the struggles of teaching in public school should read this.

Adequate Yearly Progress is set in a public school dealing with the myriad problems they face. It is written with rotating perspectives by chapter so you get to see things through the eyes of several teachers and administrators. And it treats all the players with respect while still showing the darkly humorous idiocy of many decisions. It shows admin struggling under missives of a board office and their series of initiatives that make little sense and shows how teachers try to follow all the rules while still actually educating. It shows new hopeful teachers struggling with the cynicism of some colleagues as well as helping students with family issues.

It shows everyone preparing for an outside audit and the fear that creates (while still trying to actually educate students). We see the struggle of maintaining a personal life and balancing work, worry about others, and the vying for funds with charter schools.

In short, it is the teaching experience. While it’s fiction it is also, quite literally, the most accurate portrayal of teaching I have ever read.
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My kids are in public schools and I have so many teacher friends and am always interested to hear all of their stores. This book was like my friends stories on steroids. So much bureaucratic ridiculousness goes on in our public schools and I loved the author's take on it. Can't wait to recommend this to my teacher friends to read!
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Some are calling "Adequate Yearly Progress" The Office of public education. However, In AYP, the sad thing is, anyone in public education will recognize almost every character and event. The focus on test scores tied to teacher performance, strategies for raising test scores that don't equate to skills needed for the real world, competing charter schools that take money away from schools that need it the most, thinly disguised Betsy DeVos and superintendents without a shred of educational experience, academic "consultants" with only a few years of teaching experience and unsupportive administrators. AYP is a dramedy set in an urban Texas high school. Katy is the young TeachCorp second year teacher enthusiastic and optimistic  and determined to make a difference with her students, Lena is struggling with the mandates best practices of the day, test question of the day and strategy of the day that don't fit her lessons. in addition to a relationship, Hernan is the  non- unionized science teacher, Coach Ray is the football coach father figure trying to keep his players out of trouble and healthy enough to get college scholarships and Maybelline, who follows the rules except one.  There is some humor in this book, but the more one reads, the more disillusioned one becomes with the state of public education in some states. The readers feels the pressure the principal feels to raise test scores and make sure each "believer" scores match test scores, while wanting let teachers teach. Non-educators may think the "Believer scores" that rate teachers' belief in their students' success and the excessive mandates are extremely exaggerated for effect, but sadly, some states are that test-driven. Ms. Elden takes the reader of Adequate Yearly Progress on a roller coaster of events and emotions concerning public education, offering insight into the reality of class size, lack of materials, poor building conditions,  long days and weekends, ineffective administrators, frivolous meetings and regulations, little to no support for discipline problems and high-stakes standardized testing with superfluous data collection. Despite all the challenges, AYP ends with hope.; which is what teachers have for each student they teach.
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Adequate Yearly Progress may be the truest work of fiction I have ever read.  The conversations between characters in the book mirror those I have seen and heard in my own school.  The bureaucratic games, the expectations, the professional development...everything is spot on!

I have recommended this book to many colleagues and I plan on buying copies as holiday gifts.
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Adequate Yearly Progress is a wildly funny novel about teaching in a large district. The book is complete with three sets of standards required to be written on the board each period, a new superintendent savior with no real classroom experience or expertise, and the whole range of teachers that you have seen in any building. I laughed so hard I cried in parts. If you have ever been involved in a large district with myriad initiatives, you will love this book. If you have ever thought about teaching, you will love this book. If you like funny, you will love this book. While the book is hilarious, it highlights the key challenges of working in a large bureaucracy trying to serve low-income students. It is an entertaining story and critique of the system, which can fail students.
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This highly satirical novel set in a Texas public high school is absolutely hilarious and a perfect fit for anyone in the education world.....at least those who can see the current test-heavy state of ed for the insanity that it is. Pitch perfect, biting and incredibly relatable, this was an amazing book to inhale in my first few days back to teacher inservice. If you aren’t a teacher, definitely give it a shot, but do know that the majority of the humor may not be apparent.
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Adequate Yearly Progress

There were times when I taught when I was certain no one else knew what I was going through. It is strange that in a profession where you are surrounded by other humans all day long, that I could feel so lonely and isolated. Roxanna Elden gets it. Maybe because she taught for eleven years. That perspective I only get when talking to other teachers, I got here in this book as well.

The essential loneliness of the job came through to me. So many characters going through individual crises all by themselves, even when surrounded by colleagues. Lena Wright, the African American, spoken word artist, English teacher who wants so desperately for her students to see the power of language, touched me. Kaytee Mahoney, the young, overly-idealistic TeachCorps teacher, caught between the perfection of her goals and the reality of her students, embodies many young teachers I knew. Hernan D. Hernandez, the laid back science teacher, who was always tongue tied in Lena’s presence, was the teacher who pretty much ignored the testing insanity and really taught his students. Even characters that in other hands could be seen merely as antagonistic were given depth. The assistant principals were pretty much cut outs, but I have worked with so many who fit the two in this book to a T to feel disgruntled there.

Told with wit and understanding, rotating to a different teacher in each chapter, this is the story of a school in Texas that has a new superintendent, a man who has never taught but has written a best seller about how to fix education, who turns their school on its ear. Insane initiative after initiative being forced down the teachers’ throats—I thought that the continually increasing number of things they were required to write out on their boards throughout the book was a terrific metaphor for all the foolishness teachers are saddled with. 

It was a story about people. Each in their own way a dedicated teacher. Each in their own way trying to survive another year in the classroom. Each in their own way reminding me of so many I have taught with.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who teaches, especially middle and high school. It was funny and sad at the same time. I think you’ll like it.
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Adequate Yearly Progress was a great little book.  I think every educator will recognize all of the characters - every school has them!  This was a quick, entertaining read that I think all teachers would enjoy.
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As a former teacher that spent 14 years teaching students with special needs and the very daunting challenge of getting them all to pass standardized tests, I was really looking forward to this read. Unfortunately, I struggled to connect with the characters and found it very slow. I love the idea of a fictional novel surrounding the stresses, successes, failures, and all of the emotions that accompany teaching, but this one just wasn't for me.
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As an educator, I've never related to a book more in my life. Perfect for fans of The Office, teachers will recognize and empathize with all of the struggles and laughter enclosed. I found myself laughing out loud and moved almost to tears by turn. I want to shove this book into the hands of all of my teacher friends.
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This book is so timely with the new school year starting up again. It is rare for me to laugh out loud with a book, but I laughed often!  The characters are so real and relatable; I know these people. I recommend this book to teachers, anyone who loves a teacher, and anyone who went to high school!  I loved this book.
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An enjoyable read that captures all the nuances of the education system. I taught second grade for many years, and while this novel is set in a high school, a lot of the occurrences are spot on!

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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