Dana’s experience as a Project Coach Fellow in 2015 inspired her to teach in Springfield for the long term. Now a 1st grade teacher at Springfield Prep, Dana is back in PC running Saturday North End United at Chestnut Middle School.
PC: What are you doing now?
Dana: I am currently employed as a 1st grade teacher in my third year at Springfield Prep Charter School in the south end of Springfield, MA. I am also supervising the North End United Basketball Program for Project Coach.
PC: Tell us a highlight memory from your time with Project Coach.
Dana: My favorite part of Project Coach was seeing my coaches in action on sports days. Watching them successfully implement the techniques they learned while the players were having a blast was my highlight each week of program. Being a coach to young kids is simultaneously rewarding and tiring. Helping my coaches work through their challenges and then seeing them succeed on the field with their players was rewarding.
PC: How did Project Coach impact who you are now, and what you're doing in your life?
Dana: Project Coach was my introduction to the incredible community that is Springfield, MA. I grew up in a small suburban town in eastern Massachusetts and the closest city nearby was Worcester. So when I came to work and volunteer in Springfield, it was a very different type of community than I was used to. However, the Springfield community really pulled me in, and I have not left since I arrived! I enjoy teaching in this city and working with the youth in schools and in extracurricular programs, like the North End United Basketball Program. My experiences in Project Coach helped instill a love for teaching in an urban district. I see myself in Springfield for the foreseeable future. Project Coach was the program that brought me to this city, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that!
PC: Team is a big part of life in Project Coach. Who’s on your team in your current life & work?
Dana: The Project Coach team is such a close knit, hardworking, supportive groups of individuals. I felt like I may never find another team like that one. Luckily, the team that I work with every day at Springfield Prep Charter School is a team that is strong and supportive just like Project Coach. My grade level team works tirelessly to ensure our kids get rigorous lessons every day. Just like with any team, there’s a coach. At Springfield Prep every teacher has a coach that supports their professional development. Working in a team environment offers the support and guidance I need to succeed in my position. Lastly, the whole faculty and staff at Springfield Prep are one big team that gives feedback and pushes each other to make sure OUR kids are reaching the benchmark goals we set out for them.
PC: What big idea, project, adventure has your attention? What’s your next play?
Dana: I recently was invited back to work with Project Coach as a part of the North End United Program. I am thrilled that we have the North End United Basketball Program for Springfield children in grades 2nd through 5th. It is so motivating to hear how parents and children love the convenience of the basketball program. Having a safe, organized, and free place to get children playing a sport is so important for young athletes. I am very happy to be working with Project Coach again, and I can’t wait to see the results of the basketball program.