Fourth Grade Teacher
Balderas Elementary School
Fresno Unified School District
There is a waiting list to gain entry into Lou Xiong’s fourth-grade class at Balderas Elementary School. Her thriving classroom is proof that students can achieve at high levels at a school where 96 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.
Like many of her students, English was not Lou’s first language, and she stands before her them as a testament to the fact that they can achieve anything with hard work and dedication. At the beginning of the year, Lou tells her new class that they are expected to work extremely hard to reach the levels of academic gains she has set for them. In 2009, 75 percent of her students scored proficient or advanced on the math portion of the California Standards Tests, and in 2010, more than 90 percent scored proficient in math.
Lou strives to improve learning throughout her school and district as well. She created new fourth-grade pacing guidelines that are now used in classrooms throughout the district. She welcomes teachers to observe her teaching practices and demonstrates math lessons district wide. Lou serves as a member of the school leadership team and as grade-level representative on the superintendent’s task force.