Earlier this week I had the great pleasure of visiting the class of Ananth Pai, an extraordinary teacher at Matoska International Academy in White Bear Lake. Mr. Pai left his career as a successful businessman six years ago to work with a new clientele: third-graders.
Bringing his business experience with him, Mr. Pai approached his classroom convinced that his teaching should reflect and take advantage of the high-tech world his students live in. So he used his own money to stock his classroom with gaming devices that his students use to learn math, science, reading and writing.
During my visit I watched as third-graders moved from station to station, completely engrossed in the “games” they were playing. As a father of young children, I was amazed by how well everyone paid attention. And it turns out that playing games in Mr. Pai’s classroom has a high payoff: students advance an average of two grade levels during their year with Mr. Pai.
Mr Pai is an example of an ordinary person making an extraordinary difference for our kids. As I work to grow the movement of Minnesotans concerned about our public schools, I hope to hear even more extraordinary stories like Mr. Pai’s. And I encourage you to tell your story about why you’re committed to our public schools, too.
Marcus Harcus is MinnCAN's community relations manager.