Connecting Parents to the Classroom With Mr. Baiza

School leaders at Howard University Middle School (HU-MS) keep raving about a specific teacher. His name is Osmin Baiza, a Spanish teacher known for his personalized teaching style and ability to engage parents in his classroom.

One parent, Malene Lawrence, spoke to us about how much her son Corey loves being in Mr. Baiza’s class. She said, “One of the things that makes Mr. Baiza a really great teacher is the fact that he’s connecting with the students. When Corey comes home, he talks about how much fun he has in that class.”

Mr. Baiza teaches his middle school Spanish students at a high school level, and they can’t get enough of his class (even though students describe it as “hard”). Good thing we can’t get enough of Mr. Baiza, either. That’s why we’re recognizing him as a Summit Learning Spotlight.

One student’s journey at Howard University Middle School with Summit Learning.

What is Summit Learning Spotlight?

Summit Learning Spotlight is an annual program that shares the stories and best practices of both schools and educators who partner with Summit Learning. Spotlight showcases exemplary models of personalized learning implementation and instruction.

The best part is that members of the community — mentors, educators, parents, and more — personally nominate the schools or educators we spotlight.

Putting the spotlight on Spanish Teacher Osmin Baiza

Head of School, Kathryn Procope, told us Mr. Baiza used the Summit Learning Platform to develop and customize his own curriculum. He also creates projects specific to the needs of his students.

He bases his curriculum around everyday activities that students are familiar with and sometimes has students voice record their answers for certain assignments. This helps him ensure every student can do more than just read and write in Spanish but speak it with the correct pronunciation, too.

Mr. Baiza says one of the core pieces of his teaching style is empowering students to take initiative of their learning, “I want them to be ready for that high school and college experience and to be able to learn independently without having to always have that teacher there.”

Inviting parents to be part of the student journey

Malene, the parent we told you about earlier, is also a teacher. She says Mr. Baiza bridges the gap between the teacher, student, and parent seamlessly — and it’s vital to student success. “When you think about a student’s success academically and their trajectory in life, that is directly related to the role that parents play as partners in their child’s education.”

Mr. Baiza was actually one of the first teachers to show parents how to use the Platform. He gave them a step-by-step, in-person tutorial of how to check how students are doing in a his class. He also welcomes parents into his classroom on a bi-weekly basis to discuss student progress.

He even makes sure to connect with parents in passing like when they come to pick up their kids from school. Mr. Baiza also makes sure to personally reach out to the parents of students who are struggling in his class.

The combination of Mr. Baiza’s teaching style and the Summit Learning Platform has shown some great results in his classroom. He says his students are more consistent, accountable, and engaged. It probably helps that he took several of them on a trip to the Dominican Republic to practice their Spanish, too.

Love this Summit Learning Spotlight story? We’ve got plenty more. Get inspired by other Spotlight schools and educators here.  

About the author

Summit Learning
Summit Learning is a research–based approach to education designed to drive student engagement, meaningful learning, and strong student–teacher relationships that prepare students for life after graduation. Created by teachers with experience in diverse classrooms, Summit Learning is grounded in decades of research about how children learn. With Summit Learning, students gain mastery of core subjects like math, history, English, and science, while also carefully developing the skills and habits of lifelong learners. Summit Learning is independently led and operated by the nonprofit, Gradient Learning.