Last year, young teacher Dwayne Reed welcomed students to class with a song that would ultimately become a viral sensation. This year, he's welcoming students with a new tune.
Reed was picked to be featured in a new project launched by Old Navy and Pharrell Williams' "i am OTHER," marking the launch of the clothing retailer's new "ONward!" platform.
The project includes eight original songs penned and performed by teachers across the country, including Reed's newest rap "Welcome Back to School."
As a first-year student teacher at Jane Stenson Elementary School in Skokie, Reed posted a rap video titled “Welcome to The Fourth Grade” on YouTube last August. Its views have since skyrocketed to more than 1.3 million as thousands praised Reed for his creative take on education.
"In my hood, the kids really like rap music, so what did I do? Make a rap song," Reed said while discussing his new tune. "I think kids connect with music because people in general connect with music. Music is transcendent."
Now, as a fifth grade teacher at LEARN Campbell in Chicago, Reed hopes his sequel is as big of a hit as his original.
The new video was produced by Darius Scott, a finalist on Pharrell Williams' team during Season 9 of NBC's "The Voice."
"In each video of the ONward! album, teachers impart important messages to the next generation through catchy tunes while outfitted in Old Navy's latest back-to-school styles," the company said in a press release.
Reed continues with his plan to use his passion for music to help kids come up with their own songs to help them study.
“Regardless of how cheesy it is, if it helps them remember something, if it helps them excel on the test, or in life, I’m fine with it, I’m backing it,” he told NBC 5 last year. “You can’t disconnect music from true life, so if we want our students to live excellent lives, we gotta have music involved in that.”