Only a few years ago, there were no physics classes and no physics students at Godby High School. This was both sad and predictable: Godby was one of Tallahassee’s two lowest income high schools, and the other (Rickards) had an IB program.
But then Zondra Clayton decided to change that. In 2013-14, Zondra managed to coax 49 students into her Honors Physics classes at Godby. The following year, it was 118. And this year, 175. (Numbers courtesy of the good folks at the Florida Department of Education)
Are those numbers big? Consider this: Last year, Godby had a total of 1,267 students. Only 209 of those were 12th graders.
So in a school where poverty should be a stone cold obstacle to learning, nearly all of the school’s future graduates will have taken a physics course. Zondra’s achievement is mind-boggling, especially in a state where the physics-taking rate among high school graduates is only 25%.
For this accomplishment, Zondra was recognized by her school as its Teacher of the Year.
When the Leon County School District announced its finalists for district Teacher of the Year yesterday, Zondra was not among them. One wonders what the selection committee could possibly have been thinking.
But we know what Zondra has accomplished. That, and the recognition of her own Godby colleagues and leadership, will have to do.