Positively Jax: Duval County teacher works to bridge ‘gap’ between community, school

Tiffany Scott wants to ‘change the narrative’ about George Washington Carver Elementary School

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Math teacher Tiffany Scott says she believes if you want to see change in the world, you need to be that change. It’s why she accepted a teaching position at George Washington Carver Elementary School.

The school had three consecutive failing grades -- until last year.

“I wanted to help change the narrative (about the school),” Scott said of starting her career at the school in Northwest Jacksonville.

News4JAX met Scott after she emailed us asking that we share with our viewers some good news about the school. Teachers learned during the summer, after students had recessed, that the school had improved its grade from an F to a C after students took the FSAs, state standards tests. Many of the students were not aware of the accomplishment and she wanted our help spreading the news to the community.

We asked math teacher Tiffany Scott her secret to helping her students improve on their math tests. (Photo provided)

We asked Scott her secret to helping her math students improve on the math test. She said when she first started teaching, “there was a real disconnect between community and school and so for me, in order to get the students to trust me to ask questions and to really understand that I was there to help them, I had to build relationships.”

To build that trust, Scott said she started attending some of her student’s after-school events, like football and soccer games.

Math teacher Tiffany Scott created a community board in her classroom. (Photo provided)

Scott also created a community board in her classroom.

“Students can bring anything that is important to them. Pictures of their football trophies, military members, one of my student’s mom’s passed due to COVID and he brought in a picture of his mom. It was so many different avenues that these relationships turned into academic successes,” explained Scott.

Before the FSAs, math teacher Tiffany Scott developed a football-themed competition to help teach and practice some of the math concepts. (Photo provided)

Before the FSAs, Scott developed a football-themed competition to help teach and practice some of the math concepts.

Principal Charlene James said Scott’s energy in class is infectious.

“She comes in first thing in the morning and she’s a 10, early in the morning. So she wants everyone to feed into her positive energy as well. She keeps that energy all day long and she takes that to the students and she makes them own their learning,” James said.

James said when she interviewed Scott to teach fourth-grade math at George Washington Carver Elementary School, she knew immediately she wanted Scott on her team. James credits ALL the teachers, staff -- everyone on campus -- for helping the students improve their test scores.

Both are looking forward to the new school year and the opportunity to increase the school’s grade even more. James said the school was just 24 points away from a B grade.

Scott said she relies on veteran teachers and her math coach to help continue to motivate her students. As she begins her second year of teaching, she said she is just getting started.

“So I come from a family of all men, brothers and a dad,” Scott said. “I was always told that my ‘superpower’ is my heart, and I really think that with a heart and a positive mindset you can get anything done.”

About the Author:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.