Daniel Jocz is a product of Los Angeles Unified School District public schools. These experiences inspired him to want to become a teacher that would not only elevate student learning, but also the teaching profession. His journey to fulfill this dream involved hour-long bus rides to UCLA and working fulltime to pay for undergraduate and graduate school. As the first in his family to go to college, he never dreamt he would graduate magna cum laude from UCLA with a degree in history and follow it up with a Masters thesis entitled “Culturally Responsive Education: No Culture Left Behind.”
Daniel currently teaches Social Studies and is the Leadership Advisor and Service Learning Coordinator at Downtown Magnets High School. DMHS is a public high school in Los Angeles in which 81% of the students are eligible for Title I services. As a Title I magnet school DMHS continues to be committed to educating all students and remains dedicated to the original mission of the magnet program: school desegregation, providing open enrollment, and promoting diversity.
As a historian specializing in the study of American History Mr. Jocz has always felt that the only true way in which to authentically teach history is to include all perspectives and groups. His instruction has been featured in the LA Times for including LGBT issues in his history curriculum (well before the recent California mandate) and he has published an op-ed in the Huffington Post entitled “Black History is American History, All Year Round.” Each day in his classes he teaches 21st century skills such as collaborative learning, critical thinking, public speaking, digital literacy, use of historical evidence, and essay writing while exploring the history of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
Over the past twelve years Mr. Jocz, in collaboration with his hardworking students, has developed one of the most successful AP U.S. History programs in the country. Since 2010 the pass rate has averaged above 90%, all the while keeping the course open to anybody ready for the challenge and commitment. His desire to share this success with students and teachers across the country led Mr. Jocz to create history videos for his YouTube channel Jocz Productions. To date, over 18 million minutes of Jocz’s history videos have been viewed.
A 2011 UTLA Platinum Apple Award winning teacher, Daniel Jocz has traveled to 36 countries. He has participated in six international teaching programs which have served the purpose of not only broadening his content knowledge, but also have allowed him to collaborate with educators from around the world and to internationalize his curriculum. Daniel has also served on the Instructional Leadership Team, led a team of students to the Aspen Ideas Festival, and is an America Achieves Teacher Fellow. Recently he was selected as the 2016 California Teacher of the Year and one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year.