Meet S.U.S.D.'s First TCA(teacher community ambassador) Mr. Andre Girley

    TCA Andre Girley Drum Circle



         My name is Andre Girley. I am the Teacher Community Ambassador(TCA) for El Dorado School. I have been employed as a teacher with the Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) since 1995. In 2019, Superindentent John E. Deasy, Phd approved a proprosal that myself, Principal Kristin Buckenham, Rachel Thompson, ACSW with Fathers & Families of San Joaquin (FFSJ), and school counselor Eddie Jackson, developed the position of TCA with the purpose of connecting with students and their families to create a bridge from school to home with an emphasis on cultural awareness, inclusion, and equity within SUSD. It was important for this position to reflect the representation of the school's population. Research shows representation matters. It is more likely children of color will succeed at a higher rate when they see themselves in those in leadership positions within their schools. According to a new John Hopkins University study if an African American student has just one African American teacher by the third grade, that student is 13% more likely to enroll in college. Those students who had at least two African American teachers were 32% more likely to enroll in college. The study also found that low income African American students probability of dropping out of high school is reduced by 29%, if that student at least has one African American teacher in grades 3-5. Curently only 2% of all teachers in the United States are African American and male. Addressing the inequity among the teaching core as a TCA will likely improve the educational outcomes for all students. TCA RESEARCH

          As a TCA I have established restorative circles for families and students that occur once a month. These meetings involve ongoing discussions around improving school and parent relationships, providing a safe space to allow parent and student voices to be heard. As a TCA I provide "at need" check-ins with students who are struggling with behavioral issues within the classroom. I also meet one on one with teachers to strategize appropriate proactive and restorative interventions in the classroom. In collaboration with community partners, we provide information to our families from health care professionals, migrant education administrators, grassroot/community organizers, and judicial system personnel.

         I have also been fortunate enough to incorporate a drum circle three times a week with our students here at El Dorado School. In cooperation with SUSD's Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) program and the Local Control Accountabilty Plan(LCAP) cordinator, Dr. Connor Sloan, I was given eight standing Tubano Drums and one Djembe Drum. Drumming is a cultural way to embrace the fundamental principles of African culture. Drumming, in African culture, symbolizes unity, strength, and pride. Drumming circles provide a traditional way for students to bond with one another and stay mindful of the beat of the heart that is within us all. Drumming is also an expression of creativity and art. I drum with our students during their lunch times three sessions a week in El Dorado's Care Room. Our CARE room is a therapuetic room designed specifically to be a place of calm and mindful reflection. It is a place where students learn self-regulation skills to be able to regroup and return to the classroom, as keeping kids in school to focus on learning is our goal. Our kids can access the CARE room for a brief reflection or redirection time before entering back into the classroom, counseling sessions with our mental health clinician, Ms. Tamara Smith; or meet one on one with a FFSJ Healing School Initiative facilitator. 

          In my continued effort to promote growth an development in our boys of color, an awareness program called About My Business(A.M.B.), will provide students 7th and 8th grade with cultural and social economic understanding. A.M.B. covers topics such as overcoming generational poverty, the importance of long term goal setting, the importance of achieving a good education, and providing mentorship. The culmination of the A.M.B. program includes a rites of passage ceremony that will symbolicly introduce our young boys of color to our school and community. It is our goal that the outcome of the A.M.B. program will increase self awareness, positive interaction among peers, increase attendance rates, and lower suspension rates of boys of color. If you or your organization are interested in contributing to our A.M.B. program, please contact Andre Girley, TCA and program faciltator at 209 933-7175 ext.4408 or by email at agirley@stocktonusd.net 

         I am a proud  EAGLE staff member of El Dorado School. As we say at El Dorado daily. 


     Awareness Program