When Harlem Village Academies launched in 2001, only 29 percent of fourth-grade students in Harlem could pass a basic reading test. Founder Deborah Kenny, recently widowed and with three children of her own, became inspired to change those numbers and make a dramatic impact on the lives of inner-city children. 

 

As she describes in her new book "Born to Rise," five years after the school launched, Harlem Village Academies made history as the first Harlem class ever to achieve 100 percent proficiency in eighth-grade math.

 

“Our kids have so much potential," Kenny recently told MSNBC. "And they just want somebody to believe in them. They're very young when they come here. But a lot of people have discouraged them along the way. And when you provide them with what every kid deserves, which is just, you know, love and respect, they give it right back to you.”

 

As part of a new campaign promoting the charter school's search for new teachers, Hugh Jackman partnered with College Humor on a new PSA. In it, the actor/Broadway star attempts to audition for the role of a teacher after hearing that superstars are teachers. "It's the other way around, actually ..." a women from the school says. Jackman, however, insists on delivering a monologue from "Shrek" and singing a bit of Cee Lo Green's popular R-rated "**ck You" pop song. 

 

Check out the video below: 

 

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