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Teacher Inspires Students In DC, Part Two | News

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Teacher Inspires Students In DC, Part Two
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA)--In Northeast Washington, a public charter school is now home to a young woman recently named Teach For America's elementary school teacher of the year.

Julia King was recognized for dramatically raising math and English test scores at her former school in Gary, Indiana. Now, she's inside one of the District's most successful schools.

At DC Prep, a public charter school in Northeast Washington, students are encouraged to dream... and dream big.

"In my future, I would love to go to Harvard Law School and this school has definitely pushed me," said Daeshawn Aulton, an 8th grader.

5th grader Orie Ulu wants to be a doctor.

"They help people, they keep people on track," said Ulu. "And I mean, the world without doctors, where would we be? Where would I be right now?"

Here, character development is as critical as academics.

"We believe that students have to have really, really highly developed social skills and strong character to be successful in school and in life. And that you can be as smart as you want to be but that if you're kind of a crappy human being, no one wants to work with you," said Katie Severn, DC Prep's Principal.

In a popular activity, Julia King places a marshmallow in front of each student, to teach the importance of self-discipline. She encourages them -not- to eat it.

"We can't always get what we want right away and we have to work for it," said King.

The exercise made a big impression on her 5th graders.

"When you wait to eat a marshmallow, then you will most likely going to college and have a great job," said one student.

"If you eat the marshmallow right away, when you become an adult, you'll most likely be lazy and you'll be sleeping in bed all the time," said another.

Added a young girl, "Having the marshmallow is like having patience and listening very well and doing the right thing."

"I know and believe that public education and reforming it is the civil rights issue of our time," said Severn.

DC Prep works closely with parents. Teachers are available by phone until 8 pm.

"Our students are so gracious and so hard-working and so amazing, they make it a pleasure to come here every day and we're really honored to work with them," said Severn.

Together, their goal is for every student to excel through high school, before going on to college.

Written by Andrea McCarren
9NEWS NOW & WUSA9.COM

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