Excerpt from a Letter from Gary Hoefken

Posted by Gary Hoefken, 5th Grade Teacher, North Highlands Elementary on 05/30/2014

"Her instructors entered a Title 1 school of primarily students with low morale, 
depleted self-esteem and deficient behavior.  It was extremely difficult for me, as a 
teacher, to consent to her instructors handling the discipline in the class when I saw 
students out of control.  I quickly became the student as I watched the dance 
instructors slowly acquire control of the class, win their respect and teach ballroom 
dancing.  Now I see students gaining in self-confidence, esteem, morale and a sense of 
accomplishment.  They are energized about dance class.  This energy overflows into 
the classroom.  Students start talking about dance on Friday morning even though 
dance is at the end of the day.  Some of my students plead to practice during our 
school day which we cannot do nor do we have time.  I was reluctant to give up 
valuable instruction time.  They are now willing to forsake recess for dance practice.

This dance program is beyond description and expressions.  It is a program you must 
experience; you must see the alpha and the omega to absorb the multiplicity of 
learning by my students.  One of our staff members was watching the class last 
Friday.  She had not seen the class since the first week and admitted she was 
reluctant to stay.  She was shocked.  Her commentary to me was something similar 
to, “Are these really our kids?”