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JaQuisha Gray: Transforming Education at Memphis’ Historic BTW School

In the heart of Memphis, within the walls of the historic Booker T. Washington (BTW) Middle and High School, JaQuisha Gray has returned to her alma mater, not as a student, but as a beacon of inspiration for the new generation. Gray, an alumna of BTW, has taken on the role of a Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Coach, a position that enables her to give back to her community and help shape the future minds of tomorrow.

As a former student at BTW, Gray experienced firsthand the power of dedicated educators. “The teachers nurtured me, they instilled in me the belief that I could achieve greatness,” recalls Gray. This nurturing environment inspired her to pursue a career in education. After graduating with a B.A. in anthropology in 2015, she returned to BTW, eager to inspire students just as her teachers had inspired her. “I want to show students that success is attainable, regardless of their background,” says Gray.

BTW holds a significant place in history as it was the first public high school for Black students in Memphis, founded in 1873. The school gained national recognition in 2011 when President Obama delivered the commencement address following BTW’s win in the national Race to the Top Commencement Challenge, which saw a significant increase in graduation rates. Despite its historic significance and achievements, BTW is located in the poorest zip code in Memphis.

Gray’s connection to BTW is not just professional; it’s deeply personal. Her great-grandmother graduated from BTW in 1943, followed by her grandmother and mother in subsequent decades. “My sisters and I are continuing the tradition by sending our children here,” she adds.

In her role as a Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Coach and current instructional facilitator, Gray is instrumental in integrating technology into classrooms to enhance the learning experience. “I enjoy teaching educators how to engage students through technology,” says Gray. She has also leveraged the opportunity to gain free micro-credentials via professional development courses on Verizon Innovative Learning HQ.

One such course, the “Transformative Technology” micro-credential, has equipped Gray with skills to edit and model lessons, and observe teachers from a new perspective. This has enabled her to provide constructive feedback that fosters growth among her peers. Her dedication to professional development is evident and highly regarded within the school community.

“Ms. Gray embodies growth and development,” says Paige Stubbs, assistant principal at BTW. She adds that Gray readily shares the knowledge she gains from the professional development courses offered by Verizon Innovative Learning with her colleagues. “She takes information and runs with it,” says Stubbs.

Gray’s commitment to continuous learning is not just for her personal growth, but it’s a means to keep the entire school community moving forward. “The world is constantly changing. As educators, coaches, and individuals, we must adapt or risk being left behind,” she asserts. She encourages everyone to seize new opportunities for growth, especially when it comes to educating the younger generation.

In a world where digital CPD certificates are becoming increasingly prevalent, Gray’s commitment to self-accreditation education providers like Verizon Innovative Learning HQ exemplifies how to get CPD accredited without incurring the cost of accreditation. Her story serves as an inspiration for educators seeking CPD accreditation, showing them that continuous learning is not just possible but essential in today’s rapidly evolving educational landscape.

To explore free learning apps, lesson plans, and professional development courses aligned with micro-credentials, visit Verizon Innovative Learning HQ. The journey of lifelong learning awaits you.

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