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DANA FRANCIS, M.ED.

English and History Teacher; Curriculum Lead

Credential: Secondary English

In my home state of Michigan, you are never more than six miles away from a lake. Growing up, these lakes were the backdrop to my childhood and my imagination, and I fostered a deep love for reading beside those shores. When I began my college education at the University of Notre Dame, this passion led me, predictably, to pursue an English major. A required course my freshman year introduced me to the study of history in a way I had never before understood, and I added a history major to the mix.

In the intersection of these two disciplines, I experienced intellectual and personal growth, with insightful and witty professors, small classes grounded in discussions, and expansive essay assignments that allowed me to take the driver’s seat in authentic scholarship and research. I spent hours after class sitting at a coffee shop or beside the lakes on campus with my classmates and friends, unpacking the book or the concept or the historical event in new ways.

As part of my history major, I concentrated my courses around the theme of the history of American education. With this academic understanding paired with my lifelong interest in education and my experience tutoring from high school and college, I decided to join Notre Dame’s ACE program after graduation. The ACE program enabled me to teach full-time while simultaneously pursuing a master’s in education. This AmeriCorps service program places you at site that best matches a teacher’s gifts with a school’s needs. As a result, I found myself teaching high school English in Tucson, Arizona. Consumed with planning creative lessons, cheering on students at volleyball games, and grading assignments, I felt most fulfilled during the times I was able to work one-on-one with my students. Being able to build their confidence and help them realize their own potential was the best part of the job!

After graduating from my master’s program, I knew I wanted to find a way to utilize that valuable experience and education into a more small-scale environment. I love being a tutor and finding a way to make those pathways towards success with each individual student. Just as I fostered my love for reading beside lakes, everyone has a catalyst for intellectual passion and growth that will make each opportunity to learn a gift.

At Cypress College Prep and AJ Tutoring, I enjoy helping students achieve success in their English and history classes and on the SAT and ACT exams. Despite my English- and history-focused degree, I find it rewarding to help students on all aspects of these tests, from reading and writing to math and science, and to help them discover the strategies and confidence that will help them succeed.