Sarah Ross, Education
“There was a focus on...developing a community of learners.”
Sarah Ross found the path to her profession at UMass Lowell, and the young students of Lowell are reaping the benefits.
Ross, a single mom whose daughter, Sirena recently turned four, teaches third-grade at the Bartlett Community Partnership School.
“I got such a great education at UMass Lowell. From the minute I talked with Vera Ossen (Dean of Education), she had a ‘you-can-do-it’ attitude. With my daughter there were a lot of nights I was up until 3 a.m. doing homework, and it was totally worth it.”
Along her road to a Liberal Arts bachelor’s degree in 2010, Ross learned of the 12-month accelerated master’s program in education, which she completed in 2011.
“The professors were always so helpful, beyond what they needed to be. There was a focus on moving away from old-school lectures and worksheets to learning in groups and from one another, it was developing a community of learners. Everything about it was a perfect fit. I wanted to teach in an urban setting, and the whole program seemed fit to what I needed.”
Ross, 29, grew up in the culturally-diverse, fast-paced style of New York’s Long Island. She moved for a time with her single mom to suburban Hudson, N.H. Her mom worked hard, holding down three jobs to support Sarah and her two older sisters.
“I really saw both sides of the coin,” she says. She returned to Long Island for her senior year of high school, then earned an associate’s degree at SUNY Farmington. She took psychology classes at Stonybrook then decided to delve into a teaching degree. Ross had always loved children, and worked as a babysitter, nanny and in a daycare setting. She attended St. Joseph’s College part-time before Sirena was born.
Her mother had since moved to Lowell and offered to care for the baby with Sarah attended UMass Lowell full-time. Sarah also worked as a literacy volunteer at Pollard Library.
“Teaching in an urban school – those are the kids I can identify with,” she says. “I know their lives...this is where the need is.”