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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Coach profile: Gillian Schaps, Oyster-Adams Bilingual School

Gillian (top), Oyster-Adams coach.

Each month, we highlight one of our “SCORES Corps” coaches who are responsible for running our program as writing and soccer coaches throughout the District. We hire four coaches at each school to be difference-makers for over 1,450 low-income DC youth in the classroom, in the community, and on the soccer field.

This month we highlight Gillian Schaps, a new writing coach at Oyster-Adams Bilingual Campus in Adams Morgan. Gillian took the time to answer some questions about being joining the DC SCORES team:

How long have you been with DC SCORES?

Just a few months! This spring is my first season with DC SCORES.

What’s your other job within or outside the school?

I work as a court advocate in the DC Superior Court, helping clients write petitions for protection orders and navigating the legal system.
How did you get into education or start working with youth?

I've always been drawn to working with young adults! I taught high school color guards for many years during college and when I moved to DC, I really missed interacting with students.

Why did you choose to work for DC SCORES; what attracted you to the program?

I have friends that work for DC SCORES and they could always count on me to volunteer at events like the Fall Frenzy and attend the Poetry Slam!. Eventually, I told myself, "I need to officially become a part of this!"

Now that you’ve been doing it for a while, what do you enjoy most about it?

Those "ah-ha!" moments students have ... you can literally see it on their faces. We discuss a lot of heavy topics during writing and they always surprise me with the insight and mature perspective they bring to the table.
Why is DC SCORES important to the school and the students it serves?

It's never too early to foster the bond between a child and their community, and that's exactly what DC SCORES' service-learning curriculum does. It's a place where students are treated like adults and their voices are given free reign and respect.
Was there an experience you had growing up that pushed you into education or toward doing a program like DC SCORES? Were you in a similar program?

I was very involved in music and marching band programs all the way through college and they served the same purpose as DC SCORES. They were a place for self expression, community involvement, and team building ... sound familiar?!
What’s your favorite DC SCORES event and why?

The Poetry Slam!. I can't wait to teach poetry next fall so I can see my kids blow everyone away on stage!

What’s your most memorable DC SCORES experience?

My class is still in the early stages, so we've spent most of our time in the classroom thus far. I've found that my students love puzzles and mind benders, so I really enjoy the first 10 minutes of each class when they are furiously working on their puzzle ... and then of course the moment they figure it out (or if it’s really hard, the moment I reveal the answer and they get so excited!).

Who is your favorite athlete?

I'm going to shout out to my Georgia Bulldogs and go with wide receiver A.J. Green. He is such a classy player that always puts his team first and has a quiet confidence about him.  He's a great DC SCORES role model, and not to mention an AMAZING player (seriously, check out this catch). He wears #18 for the Bengals now.  

Who is your favorite singer or poet?

I was an English major in college so the list is pretty long. Keats is always my go-to guy, though. That Grecian Urn is a classic.

What is your favorite food?

PIZZA. Or mac and cheese. Anything that is bread + cheese!

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