PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) - For the third year in a row, NBC's Education Nation Summit has convened in New York City. The three-day event is taking place at the New York Public Library.
A Teacher Town Hall moderated by Brian Williams kicked off the summit Sunday.
A Central Texas educator -- Dixie Ross from Pflugerville High School -- was in the crowd of around 300 who tackled timely topics. She is an instructor nominated by KXAN News to attend.
"I think it's just great that the conversation is taking place and I hope that's it an ongoing continuing conversation," said Ross.
NBC News selected the Advanced Placement calculus teacher based on her success in getting more minorities enrolled and excelling in AP calculus.
"I didn't like that idea of people just kind of cruising along and thinking they were doing fine," said Ross, "and then they were going to major universities and not being successful there."
The AP calculus classes on campus reflect the racial make-up of the entire school.
Not only are students passing the class, but many are acing the national AP exam. Last year, Pflugerville High School's scores ranked 10th in the state. They also achieved the second highest scores among minorities.
This year, senior Casey Winn -- a linebacker on the football team -- is rising to the challenge.
"We'll have the homework and it's rough homework, but, it gets you through. And then we'll have the quiz and then we'll get the new stuff, and then we'll have another quiz. And she drills us on it, but it puts it in your brain pretty well. So, I like that," said Winn.
One of Ross's former students, Mary Pennington, is now teaching AP calculus two doors down.
"She was really the first teacher who ever called my mom and said 'Mary's not doing what she needs to do. She's working OK. She's getting by, but she could do a lot more," said Pennington. "She really does a great job of inspiring kids to work harder than they think is possible."
There have been roadblocks along the way. Sometimes, not everyone is on board with helping students develop their full potential.
"There are people who think athletes, for example, should just focus on athletics and not spend time in the classroom," said Ross. "Sometimes there's parents who don't like seeing their children being challenged. They feel as though they'd rather see high grades in easy courses and it doesn't serve the student well, but that's how they feel about it."
KXAN education reporter Erin Cargile will be covering Education Nation in New York City through Tuesday. Check back for more stories on local teachers and students attending and follow her on Twitter @erincargile.
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