California Educator

December/January 2021

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"When I see students hopeful about their future and becoming confident, it's priceless. Nobody can take that away from them." who was on juvenile probation when she was referred to Scott's program. "I was gang affiliated and up to no good. I didn't go to school. Ms. Davida was always there for me. She told me to never let my past define me." Gomez, who had a child at 19, cred- its Scott with helping her graduate from high school as a fifth-year senior enrolled in independent studies. Scott took her to visit the local community college, and she enrolled. In June, Gomez will receive her bachelor 's degree in criminal justice from CSU East Bay, becoming Scott's first stu- dent to graduate from a four-year college. She serves on the Hayward Police Commission. A 15-year-old student living in a homeless shelter says Scott inspires her to stay focused on her online classes and think of the future. "It has been hard living in a shelter, but Ms. Davida tells me I'm not going to be here forever, and that I should wake up early every morning, go to my sister 's place and do my studies. Her workshops have inspired me to go to college and start my own busi- ness someday." Yahya Elshawarbi graduated last June from Brenkwitz Continuation School. Through Raising Leaders, he was appointed to the Hayward Youth Commission and will have an internship with the Hayward Fire Department. He is enrolled at Chabot College and plans on becoming a firefighter, now that he has lost 100 pounds. "Ms. Davida literally saved my life," he says. "She's the kind of teacher you see in movies. I was going through some very tough times. My parents were divorcing, I was moving into a new home after being evicted again. If it wasn't for her, I'd weigh 400 pounds." Scott inspired Elsha- warbi with the line, "Even roses grow from concrete," and he is proud to be one of her success stories. Scott is a success story herself. She was expelled from Hayward High School at 15. She moved in with her sister, who was a case manager of a nonprofit that helped youth find summer jobs, and became an intern in that program. She liked helping others so much that she went back to high school and then earned her credential to teach adult education through the University of San Diego. "I know firsthand what it's like to be a troubled student, and that's what inspired me to build this legacy," says Scott. "I won't let people tell me no when it comes to creating opportunities for our children. When I see students hopeful about their future and becoming confident, it's priceless. Nobody can take that away from them." She has lost 20 stu- dents over the course of her career. Twelve were charged with murder, one committed suicide, and the rest were murdered. She dedicates her program to them. "I knew I had to build a model that served our children who were most at risk ," says Scott. "I tell my students ' The change starts with us.' We need to be the change we want to see in our communities." Davida Scott Know an Innovator? W E ' R E A L W A Y S looking to showcase student-centered work of extraordinarily creative, resourceful edu- cators. Let us know at (put "Innovator " in the subject line). In fact, CTA's Institute for Teaching (IFT ) supports educator innovation and great ideas through dues-funded, competitive grants awarded directly to members and local chapters. All CTA members are eligible to apply for an Educator grant (up to $5,000) or an Impact grant (up to $20,000). Apply at Take advantage of IFT grant-writing webinars and "office hours" to help shape, refine and review your proposal: Jan. 7 and Feb. 4, 2021, 3:30–5 p.m. RSVP at At left, content from "Oral Histories of the Inland Empire" (, a project that received CTA IFT grants in 2019 and 2020. See story on innovator Jennifer Escobar on page 25 for more. 29 D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 21

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