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Lake Educator Finds a Way for His Students to Succeed

Compliments of Lake County Schools

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Gary Pause

Gary Pause is a self-described "rebel." But he is also a passionate educator and a champion for children whose success in the classroom is remarkable. Nearly all — 148 of 150 — of Pause's eighth grade language arts students at Umatilla Middle School scored well enough on the state's Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) last year to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress as measured by federal standards under the No Child Left Behind legislation. Quite a feat to be sure, but one that doesn't faze 30-year veteran teacher Pause. When asked to what he attributes his students' success on the FCAT, Pause said, "Because I don't worry about it."

What he does worry about is connecting with the students so that he can reach them academically. "You have to establish a rapport with kids," Pause said. "You have to know what they are about, and make the classroom entertaining and relevant," he explained. Pause also noted that numbers by themselves, in regard to percentages of students achieving at or above certain levels, are meaningless. "We can use the numbers up to a point, but only to find the students' weaknesses and find a way to help them improve," he remarked. "The job is still to find a way to help each individual student," he added, a method which Pause certainly exemplifies.