Teacher Feature: Karen Broughton, PSLA
Published on 5/11/17
District News Academics PSLA @ Fowler
Karen Broughton has worked in urban education for two decades. Twelve years into her teaching career, however, she earned a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law, which ultimately led her to become a criminal defense attorney. Yet, in 2009, she felt compelled to return to the classroom, accepting a position as a consultant teacher at Danforth Middle School and later as a resource teacher at PSLA at Fowler High School.
“I missed the classroom,” Ms. Broughton explained. “My first love is teaching.”
She still maintains a law office downtown, where she works in the evening. She noted that sometimes, her clients are high school students, prompting her to talk to them about their future, their career plans and how to stay out of trouble. Her role as a nurturer never ends.
“It’s important to talk to students… to get to know them,” she insisted. “Even though the kids I started working with are juniors now, I still check up on them, looking at their grades and attendance to make sure they’re doing okay. All students need structure, support, connection, advice, and caring adults. You have to get to know and understand them or you are failing them.”
To help connect with students, Ms. Broughton helped lead the creation of the school’s Girls to Women group. Partnering with mentors at The Links, Inc., professional women in the community partner with PSLA students in their sophomore year, pledging to remain with them as mentors through their high school careers.
“Our goal is to encourage them socially and academically, to see them do well and become college and career ready,” Ms. Broughton added.
As the junior class advisor, she said just thinking back to the students’ freshman year allows her to see the progress they have made.
“Coming out of eighth grade, they wanted to run things,” Ms. Broughton recalled. “And I wouldn’t let them. I gave them structure and showed them the expectations and what we were going to do. Kids can be difficult. But without the difficult ones, it would be boring! And when you see them grow, that’s what’s really exciting.”
Student Niquera Jackson has known Ms. Broughton since her days as an eighth grader at Danforth, where Ms. Broughton was a teacher at the time. Now a junior at PSLA at Fowler, Niquera recalled her time in CREW with Ms. Broughton during her freshman year.
“I wasn’t doing too well in school, but Ms. Broughton pushed me and stayed on me,” she explained. “Even now, I’m not doing so great with my grades, but she stays on me to improve my grades so I can go on college visits. It means a lot to me because there aren’t a lot of teachers like that, who really care and want you to do better.”
Ms. Broughton notes that some former students, like Niquera, occasionally stop by to say hi and ask how she’s doing, and she notes that that gesture alone reminds her of her purpose.
“That makes my day… the students who were hard to break,” she said. “We hung in there with them… we didn’t give up on them.”
Thank you, Ms. Broughton, for all you do!