Stephen Pham is a part of Rocketship’s Achievement Team, overseeing the implementation of online learning and driving the personalized learning initiatives throughout the network. Previously, Stephen was a 5th grade Integrated Math teacher at Sí Se Puede Academy, where he first began his work leveraging blended learning strategies to improve outcomes for all students. Stephen grew up in Southern California and attended the University of California, Los Angeles where he studied biophysics. After graduating, he joined Teach for America and began his career at Rocketship. Stephen now lives in San Francisco and enjoys discussing all things technology, trying all types of foods, traveling and spending time outdoors with friends.
i am ME. Statements
i am optimistic. i am engaged. i am a problem solver.
GETTING TO KNOW STEPHEN
What is one thing that makes you unique as a leader?
I am able to channel the experiences of both folks on the ground carrying out innovative work as well as the perspectives of visionaries.
When and why did you decide to be a thought leader?
I started out teaching with Teach for America which started my personalized learning journey in the classroom.
What about teaching today gives you the greatest fulfillment?
Being able to share my “a ha” moments with other educators.
Please share with us a simple connection where you feel you made a long-lasting, powerful impact on a student.
I had one student who was in my after school coding program. He enjoyed this program so much that he worked on his own programs at home with such excellence, and returned to school to show me his amazing work.
PERSONALIZED LEARNING JOURNEY
What is it about Personalized Learning Pedagogy you believe will have the greatest impact on education as we know it today?
Giving the right student the right resources at the right time. This means to think about what every student needs when they need it and delivering content at the right level.
Tell us about a challenging situation that could have resulted in a bad outcome, but because you persisted — and perhaps made tough decisions, the now painful memory serves as a great lesson?
My first year teaching I was sent into a classroom where the students were very attached to their old teacher. I made plenty of mistakes and wanted to quit; however, thanks to my staff and team I overcame and reflected to learn from those mistakes I encountered.
SECRETS TO SUCCESS
What one strategy would you suggest teachers in personalized learning environments apply everyday that would result in powerful outcomes?
Making data come alive by informing how the students are learning and what students need, so teacher can react.
Imagine you are standing in front of a room full of educators — just like you when you started your personalized learning journey. They too have fears, worries and doubts as they struggle to find their footing. What are two to three key things they should focus on to ensure success?
Always be true and open to your understanding and opinions. Develop a love for sharing stories such as your practices and failures.
i am ME.
Can you share with the i am Me. audience one thing that makes you GREAT?
I take pride in my abilities to be a quick learner and problem solver.