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2014 California Title I Conference


Rap and The Gap: Why Getting Real with Ourselves and Our Students Is the Key to Student Achievement

Alex Kajitani

Ten years ago, Alex Kajitani was a struggling new teacher in one of California’s poorest neighborhoods. His middle school students were unmotivated, unengaged, and uninterested in the math he was teaching. Demoralized and desperate, he set out on a journey to turn his class and his life around.

Today, Alex holds the title of California Teacher of the Year and a Top-4 Finalist for National Teacher of the Year, 2009, and is lauded for his innovation and real talk as a teacher and teacher-leader. He is also known around the country as The Rappin’ Mathematician.

Alex’s journey, from frustrated new teacher to being honored at The White House Rose Garden, is one he now shares with educators across the country, to inspire them to new heights and fresh ways of thinking. From using rap music to teach fractions, to getting past the discomfort of talking about race and ethnicity in his classroom, Alex shares his secrets to meeting students where they live and turning his teaching around.

In Rap and The Gap, he tells refreshingly honest stories of his experiences in schools with a large percentage of Title 1 students and interweaves them with proven strategies that can be implemented the very next day to make an immediate impact on students’ lives. This keynote will inspire educators of all students, subjects, and levels to teach with passion and courage, and create the world as it can be.

Questions:   Title I Conference | TitleIconference@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0917
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