Honoring Matthew Medrano

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Matthew Medrano

High School Science Teacher

Los Angeles, CA

Matthew Medrano is currently a science teacher at the Green Design School at the Diego Rivera Learning Complex in South Los Angeles. His passion is the environment, and he shares this passion with his students during his Environmental Science and Advanced Placement Environmental Science classes.  He graduated from California State University Long Beach with a Bachelor’s in Biology and an option in Education.  He received his credential from the Transition to Teaching Program at California State University Dominguez Hills.  Mr. Medrano shares his passion for the environment with his students on a daily basis, working to create solutions for school, community, and worldwide environmental problems.  Additional, Mr. Medrano works with students daily to unlock their passions and create roadmaps into colleges like UCLA, USC, and CSULB.  In 2013 Mr. Medrano became a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, joining an elite group of teachers recognized for their excellence in teaching and learning.  Additionally, in 2014 Mr. Medrano joined UCLA’s Center X Science Project as a Lead Teacher, helping to introduce computer science, computational thinking, and Next Generation Science Standards into classrooms across the Greater Los Angeles area. Mr. Medrano is continuing his education of teaching and learning, working on his M.Ed at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Why do you teach?

I teach because it’s my passion. I know education is power.  I want to empower my students to follow their passions and empower others.

What do you love about teaching?

I love the “A-Ha” moments that I experience in teaching. Whether it is adult learners or student learners, seeing the accomplishment and faces of students when they solve a problem or create their own solution is unparalleled.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

I was fortunate to go through school with many inspiring teachers.  However, the teacher that made the biggest impact in my life would have to be my Journalism teacher, Mr. Slagle.  In my four years with him, he allowed me to fail and succeed in a safe environment.  The trust and responsibility he placed in his students allowed them to practice real-world skills in a safe environment.  He is a prime example of living your passion.  His dedication to English Language Arts and Journalism extend beyond the classroom into the Greater Los Angeles Community.

Welcome Deputy Director Jaqueline Cortez-Wang

Jaqueline Cortez Wang Official Photo

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (Initiative) welcomes Jaqueline Cortez-Wang to serve as Deputy Director.

In this role, Jaqueline will serve as primary advisor to the Executive Director and help ensure that the objectives of the Initiative are fully executed. Jaqueline has served as Hispanic Communications and Outreach Director in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Communications and Outreach since 2011 and has been instrumental in the development and execution of the public affairs, public engagement, and education efforts focused on Hispanic stakeholders. For much of 2015, Jaqueline detailed to the Initiative as a senior advisor, leading the project strategy and development of the Initiative’s 25th anniversary call for Commitments to Action. 

Prior to joining the Department, Jaqueline built her career at NASA Johnson Space Center, starting as a high school cooperative education student. She ended her NASA career 13 years later as a Senior Supervisor for the Human Research Program Education & Outreach office leading the development of youth education programs focused on motivating young students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A native of Pasadena, Texas, Jaqueline holds an Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration from San Jacinto College-Central, Texas, a dual Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Marketing, and a Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural Studies from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She is also a graduate of the National Hispanic Professional Organization’s Leadership Institute.

Jaqueline can be reached via email at jaqueline.cortezwang@ed.gov.

 


 

 

Honoring Veronica Perez

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Veronica Perez

Elementary Arts Teacher

Arlington, VA

Veronica Perez is a Prek-5 grade art teacher at Arlington Traditional School. She holds a Bachelor of Secondary Art Education from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico as well as a Master of Arts in Multicultural/Bilingual Education from George Mason University. She also has a Master’s Degree Equivalent in Studio Art from VCU.

During the 2011-2012 she worked in a photography project called “This is My City/ This is My Community,” where children in rural Uganda learned how to use cameras to share their life stories and culture with the community of Arlington. Their artwork was on display at the Arlington Arts Center. This project had a huge impact globally and within Arlington school communities.

Veronica is an Arlington County Public schools facilitator for Courageous Conversations on Racial Equity. The initiative aims at increasing students’ achievements by eliminating race and the acquisition of English as a predictor of success in Arlington Public Schools.

Veronica has the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues. She contributes to the field of education by conducting seminars and workshops and being involved in training and assisting fellow teachers in their professional development. She is a school leader and is very involved with the larger community. She is the Humanities Project Representative for her school. She has used this leadership position to bring diversity to her students by selecting performances to share at school-wide assemblies.

Veronica is also a practicing artist, active in leadership positions in numerous community artists groups including: Del Ray Artisans, The Arlington Artist Alliance, Art Latin American Collective Project (ALACP), and the Latino Art League (TLAL).

In 2015 she was recognized as the Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Hispanic Teacher of the Year due to her ability to impart knowledge to all of her students and to inspire students from all backgrounds to learn to their full capacity despite any socioeconomic disadvantages. In 2015 she was also recognized as a 40 Under 40 Honoree by Leadership Arlington for been an inspirational teacher and a distinguished young leader in the education field.

Why do you teach?

I am passionate about teaching because I feel that I can make a positive impact in my students’ life. As a Latina teacher, I strive to give a voice to all children. I want to be able to represent the underrepresented. I believe that if each of us care enough for the youth, we will see a difference in our world. If we care enough, we will help create a more fair, happy and peaceful world for our children to live in.  I understand that it is extremely important that each child feel proud of who they are and feel accepted. Accepted not just in the way they look but also in the way they “see” things. I feel very proud of my Latin roots and I want my students to also celebrate who they are. I believe that self- acceptance is important in my students’ personal and professional success and growth.

What do you love about teaching?

I love that every child can be successful in my classroom regardless of their economic background, interests, abilities or ethnicity.  I also like the opportunity to enhance my students’ life through authentic learning with hands-on art projects and I love seeing them succeed. I never get bored when I teach. Every day is filled with many opportunities to learn and fun!

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you? 

I have lots of teachers that inspired me in one way or another, but in 7th grade I had an amazing teacher (Maria Quiros) that stood out from the others. She was organized, responsible, hardworking, and knowledgeable; but the qualities that I admire the most are that she was caring and kind. More than a teacher, she was a friend. She showed me that I could be anything I wanted if I worked hard. She also challenged me and helped me build my confidence and self- esteem. She is the reason I believe that I can accomplish anything in life. I hope that I can become to my students the teacher she was to me.

Local Efforts Supporting Latino Teacher Recruitment

Posted by White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

On April 20, 2016, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (WHIEEH) hosted the next in its series of Bright Spots in Hispanic Education (Bright Spots) Google+ Hangouts. The Google+ Hangout highlighted the tremendous efforts of Bright Spots focused on Latino teacher recruitment around the country. Ruthanne Buck, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Education and Maria Pastrana Lujan, Senior Advisor at the WHIEEH, hosted : Academy for Teacher Excellence, TX, Bilingual Education Program at Texas A&M University, TX, Grow your Own Teachers (GYO), IL, Mini-Corps Program at Fresno State, CA, STEM Transformation Institute (STI), FL, T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood, NC, and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The Google Hangout was a dynamic and educational discussion featuring promising practices and strategies supporting Latino teacher recruitment.

Teachers can be the most influential figure in a students’ educational journey. As the Latino population continues to grow, it is imperative to have a teaching workforce that reflects the student population and our diverse nation. Currently, one in four public school students are Hispanic, yet only 7.8% of the teaching workforce is Hispanic. Resources and support are critical to maintain top talented Hispanic teachers in education. Bright Spots are helping to combat this disparity through their efforts.

Ruthanne Buck, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Education, and Maria Pastrana Lujan, Senior Advisor at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, host Google + Hangout on Latino Teacher Recruitment on April 20, 2016.

Ruthanne Buck, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Education, and Maria Pastrana Lujan, Senior Advisor at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, host Google + Hangout on Latino Teacher Recruitment on April 20, 2016.

Throughout the Google hangout, the Bright Spots shared how each has been successful in recruiting and retaining teachers and highlighted best practices. Best practices included: creating partnerships with their local community colleges, creating teacher learning communities, and allowing hands-on student experiences during their freshman year. They also discussed the importance of outreach to bilingual students and non-traditional student teacher candidates and the importance of including family in all aspects of the process.

In fact, studies (Ceja, 2004; Gándara, 1995, 1999; Solorzano, 1986) have shown that families and communities are vital components to the educational and occupational aspirations of students. By having those who are already present in the community as educational leaders, students’ aspirations can be cultivated and realized through interaction in school settings. Increasing the number of Latino teachers will not only benefit Latino students but rather all students by bringing a diverse perspective to the classroom environment. Latino teacher recruitment efforts are effective when we collaborate and build partnerships between school districts and local colleges and universities with larger ethnic minority student populations. These partnerships can increase the number of diverse teachers by providing culturally-responsive, cooperative-learning centered, and culturally-inclusive teaching training opportunities (Bireda & Chait, 2011).

It is also important to remember that in addition to teacher recruitment, we must focus on retention. By increasing the retention of Latino teachers, we also increase the presence of Latinos in other school positions such as school counselor, administrators and other school leaders (Méndez-Morse, Murakami, Byrne-Jiménez, & Hernandez, 2015). The recruitment and retention of Latino teachers becomes the vehicle that mobilizes schools to meet the demands of its diverse student population, which then creates a welcoming and inclusive environment to learn in.

These Bright Spots clearly demonstrate that by providing Latino students with the support and wrap around services they need to be successful teachers, they are helping to ensure that our teaching workforce is as diverse as our nation’s students. A teacher candidate from the Mini-Corps Program at Fresno State said it best, “They provide the support to keep up my academics and to always strive to better myself and to hold myself to a higher standard. […] Next year, I’ll be working as a fourth grade teacher in Mendoza where I grew up.” There can be no greater measure of the positive impact these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education are making.

Fresno State MiniCorps Program

Resources:

To view the full engagement video here: http://bit.ly/1X8SSiS

 

Honoring Rick Archuletta

Rick Archuletta

Rick Archuletta

High School Social Studies

Fountain, CO

In 2004, Rick Archuletta started his career as a secondary educator at Fountain-Ft. Carson High School in Fountain, Colorado, teaching Special Education and after four years he moved to the Social Studies department where he teaches advanced United States History, American Government, and Psychology.  Mr. Archuletta has also worked as an adjunct professor of Chicano Studies at Colorado State University-Pueblo, specifically teaching the Voices of Protest course, in which the history of people of color in the United States and the state of Colorado are highlighted along with social movements that stem from differences in race, class, and gender.  Prior to working as an educator, Mr. Archuletta graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota with degrees in both Special Education and History.  He continued his education and earned a Master of Arts degree from Colorado State University-Pueblo in United States History following the successful defense of his thesis, “Reclaiming Aztlan:  Southern Colorado and Chicano Activism of the 1970s”.  Mr. Archuletta has presented original research on both labor and community activism in Colorado during the Chicano movement at the Annual Conference of the Western History Association and at the Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery Conference.

Why do you teach?

To me, teaching is a way to make an impact and give back to our community.  Because I teach in a school district with a diverse student population, I believe it is important that students have diverse role models and if I can serve as an example for at least one student, then I have made a positive contribution.

What do you love about teaching?

I love the everyday interaction with students.  I love the challenge and excitement that comes with building an atmosphere in which students feel like they are an integral part of a team and that their ideas matter.  It is exciting to see students engaging with the content and each other in such a way that allows them to connect with their learning.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

I had many wonderful teachers while attending school. However, I was inspired to teach after taking a mentoring class during my junior year of high school.  For this particular class, I was paired alongside a student with disabilities and I worked with them in a general education course.  I enjoyed the work so much that I signed up for the class again as a senior and afterwards, decided that I wanted to become a teacher.  While attending college at Dakota Wesleyan University, Dr. Sylvia Street and Prof. Kevin Lein had a great impact in shaping me as an educator and providing me the tools to be successful in the classroom.

Honoring Deisy Leija

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Deisy Leija

Elementary Bilingual Teacher

Baytown, Texas

Deisy Leija, a native of San Antonio, Texas, is a first-generation graduate. Both of her parents are immigrants from Monterrey, Mexico. Growing up, her parents always instilled in her the importance of getting an education and as the oldest of five siblings, she believed it was her responsibility to set a good example.

Growing up, her family lived in the small town of Valparaiso, Florida. It was difficult going to school for her because she was limited in her English language and the community where she lived, did not understand Spanish. It was a challenge for her on a daily basis – not knowing what was going on or what was being taught in the classroom. She had to rely on a Spanish/English dictionary in order to partially understand. This experience inspired her to pursue her career in bilingual education.

Mrs. Leija achieved her dream of becoming a teacher after she graduated from Texas State University with a Bilingual Education Degree. This will be her third year of teaching 5th Grade Reading/Language Arts and Social Studies at Crockett Elementary in Baytown, Texas. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling at Lamar University and hopes to continue making a positive impact on children’s lives as a school counselor.

Why do you teach?

Having to learn the English language was a struggle for me and living in a community that did not know Spanish, made it very difficult to learn the new language. I teach because I want to be the teacher that facilitates learning for my students – especially for my English Language Learners. I find teaching to be very rewarding when I see kids progressing academically. I teach to inspire, encourage and motivate my students so that they too can be successful in their future endeavors.

What do you love about teaching?

The thing I love the most about teaching is seeing my students grow academically. I love seeing how excited they get when we are learning about a topic that interests them. Teaching is something I look forward to on a daily basis and it makes me happy knowing that I am making a difference.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

Mrs. Garza is the most influential teacher in my life. Mrs. Garza was my fifth grade teacher and she always went above and beyond to help me when I was struggling. She would stay after school with me just to help me with my reading. She never gave up on me and I didn’t give up on myself because of how much she believed in me.

Honoring Marlene Cabrera

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Marlene Cabrera

Curriculum Support Specialist

Miami, FL

As a young child, Marlene Cabrera and her family immigrated to the United States leaving behind family and memories of their beloved Cuba. Growing up in Chicago and being the only Hispanic in a primarily Polish neighborhood was difficult but her parents instilled in her the desire to have a better life in a free and democratic country. This responsibility, to be the first to graduate and receive an education, became her driving force to succeed. The shiny bowling trophies her elementary teacher held up to the class as a reward for academic excellence became her second inspiration. Ms. Cabrera had never seen anything so precious and special in her young life. During her teen years, her family moved to Miami, where she found a community that reintroduced her to her Cuban heritage and culture.

As an educator, Ms. Cabrera had the privilege of teaching several subject in the secondary environment: English, Journalism, Art, Drama, ESOL, Reading, and AP Language & Composition. She earned a Masters in Reading and National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) certification in Adolescent/Young Adult English Language Arts. She served several years as a Reading Coach liaison at Terra Environmental Research Institute, a magnet school in MDCPS. She had the privilege to work for The Florida Literacy and Reading Excellence (FLaRe) Program grant at the University of Central Florida sponsored by the Just Read, Florida Office. As a FLaRe Coordinator, Ms. Cabrera worked with literacy professionals from various districts and presented literacy workshops statewide while providing support to Reading Coaches in the Miami-Dade County area. As a FLaRE Coordinator, she served as an expert commentator on LEaRN, a reading literacy website. Ms. Cabrera’s multiple certifications in Gifted Education, English, ESOL, Art and Reading have provided her the avenue in which to be able to reach many Hispanic students at different language levels.

Currently, Ms. Cabrera is the Curriculum Support Specialist for the Department of Bilingual and World Languages for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Along with a team of highly qualified professions from the department, they presented at NABE and will continue to present best practices for their ESOL students as the district continues to adapt the WIDA standards. In addition, she is a trainer for the ESOL and Reading Endorsements for Miami-Dade County Public Schools and for Beaconeducator.com. As an Adjunct for Miami Dade College, Ms. Cabrera has also had the opportunity to assist students of various ages reach their dream of a college education by teaching remedial courses for the College Prep Department.

Why do you teach?

I teach because I love to share my passion for learning. I remember telling my mother after my Masters degrees that I was done with learning and school. She shrugged and smiled. Five years later, I was applying for National Boards certification. Learning is fun! If I could share this passion with others and transfer this joy to multitudes of children, then the world would be a much better place. I also teach because I feel that to maintain a democracy its citizens must be properly educated and well informed. The future of this great democracy lies on the education of our children.

What do you love about teaching?

I love being creative and inspiring the magic that happens when you learn. I love developing thematic units around big ideas such as gender roles, multicultural education, civil responsibilities, and personal identity. I love being there for newly arrived English Language Learners (ELLs) and helping them make the language and cultural transition. I love teaching and believing with a strong sense of efficacy that ELLs are capable of achieving great heights if given a rigorous and appropriate education.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

As a student at Frank W. Reilly K-8 in Chicago, I was blessed to have had amazing educators who inspired me to learn and grow. Every teacher added to my intellectual growth and artistic development. I was allowed to help teachers design bulletin boards, enter Science Fairs, and learn English. At Madonna High School, I learned about religion, spirituality, and camaraderie. At Miami Coral Park, I met Dr, Moore who welcomed me with a thoughtful daily quote and taught me to love literature as a critical independent thinker. Although stoic and stern, he was approachable and provided me with advice that turned my high school graduation day into a successful family encounter.

Teachers Advocate for Removal of Barriers and Fear for Undocumented Students

This was crossposted from the U.S. Department of Education blog, Homeroom

 

Dominguez with students in her classroom. (Photo courtesy Alice Dominguez)

Dominguez with students in her classroom. (Photo courtesy Alice Dominguez)

Two words dominated the conversation at ED’s Tea with Teachers last week on the topic of supporting undocumented students: fear and hope. Educators balanced their concerns for their undocumented and mixed-status students, while acknowledging the hope that they ultimately deserve. During the tea, I couldn’t help but think of the student from my school district, who was sitting in a jail cell rather than a classroom, feeling those same emotions.

Wildin David Guillen Acosta was taken from his front yard on his way to his Durham, N.C., school in January, while his mother watched helplessly from their home. He would later join nine other students from North Carolina and Georgia whose parents and classmates also witnessed their arrests from bus stops, homes, and neighborhoods. While The Department of Homeland Security has designated schools with sanctuary status, teachers across the Southeast are arguing that ICE raids are threatening our students’ daily lives as their justifiable anxieties are occupying what could otherwise be devoted to their academic pursuits.

Teachers nodded in unison as we heard testimonials of students and family members who were taken from us by ICE or who suffer from PTSD from the threats that ICE raids pose. We questioned how we can engage our biggest allies, our students’ families, when schools serve as an intimidating environment. As César Moreno Pérez of the American Federation of Teachers stated at the tea, ICE raids are, “eroding the hope that educators worked so hard to build” in immigrant communities across our nation.

The threat of deportations is just the beginning of an undocumented student’s concerns. Teachers shared frustration with the barriers that are created as a result of misinformation, particularly post-secondary financial barriers. Secretary King acknowledged that some states are more committed to supporting our undocumented students’ collegiate goals, and this is certainly the case for me, as I noted that my former students in Colorado attend college with in-state tuition, while my current students in North Carolina have found limited options when searching for scholarships and financial aid.

Most notably, it is not just students who are vulnerable to the instability of our complex immigration system. A teacher with DACA status spoke of the important role that DACA qualifying teachers can play in inspiring students, yet this important role remains unstable as we wait for the results of the most recent Supreme Court case and next election. Since DACA is an executive order, the next President could remove it, making this teacher and others like her ineligible to do exactly what they feel called to do — show their own undocumented students that their dream career is within reach.

I left this tea once again with Wildin on my mind and an inbox full of resources from other teachers. It’s always inspiring to meet teacher leaders from across the country, and in this case, I feel more supported knowing they’re committed to empowering our students in the face of the barriers imposed on them.

Alice Dominguez is an English teacher at J.D. Clement Early College High School in Durham, North Carolina, and a founding member of a recently developed caucus to support undocumented students within the Durham Association of Educators. She previously taught in Las Vegas and Denver.

Honoring Michelle Sánchez

Michelle Sánchez

Special Education Teacher

Los Angeles, CA

Michelle Sánchez is a Special Education Teacher at Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School, the only grade 7-12 school in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). In this role, she works with High Functioning Autistic students, creating individualized educational plans to help students develop non-cognitive skills in social communication, executive functioning, and behavioral self-management. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Sánchez serves as an Assistant Coach for Cross Country and for Track and Field.

Prior to joining the faculty at Eagle Rock, Ms. Sánchez spent four years with the Boston Public Schools.  She taught eighth grade English and History at Gardner Pilot Academy, a full-inclusion K-8 school that is further distinguished as one of 21 pilot schools within the district. In addition to teaching, Ms. Sánchez also served as the school’s Media and Technology Specialist. In this role, she supported teachers with integrating technology into curriculum, advised students as they launched the school’s first newspaper and yearbook publications, and empowered families through English and Spanish language instruction in computer literacy with the Technology Goes Home organization. Drawing on these experiences, Ms. Sánchez has presented on family and community engagement strategies at Boston College’s New Teacher Academy Conference and on technology integration methods at Harvard University’s LearnLaunch15 Conference.  Her passion for education began as a teacher’s assistant at Dickinson College Children’s Center and the Department of Spanish & Portuguese. Ms. Sanchez also had the opportunity of serving middle school students in Sacramento, CA through the Breakthrough Collaborative summer teaching fellowship.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Michelle Sánchez is the proud daughter of Mexican and Costa Rican immigrants. She attended LAUSD public schools, graduating from Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School as a Posse Foundation Scholar. A first-generation college graduate, Ms. Sánchez earned her B.A. in American Studies and Spanish at Dickinson College. She completed the Breakthrough Collaborative summer teaching fellowship in Sacramento, CA and went on to complete her M.Ed. in Secondary Education History at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education as a Donovan Urban Teaching Scholar.

What do you love about teaching?

Teaching enables me to work with students of all backgrounds and ability levels, and I strive to inspire all of my students to fully embrace their potential, to set high and ambitious goals, and to work toward those goals with confidence.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

I was fortunate to have many dedicated teachers—such as Ms. Ngo, Ms. Lynch, Mr. Oswald, Mr. Beaty— who  cultivated my curiosity for learning, who showed patience and compassion on my bad days, and who gave me the confidence to reach the finish line. I am honored to return to Eagle Rock to teach alongside many of my former teachers, and I like to think that I may also have a few future teachers in my classroom.

Why do you teach?

I teach to help my students become aware of their strengths and interests so that they can ultimately find their voice.

 

Rosalita Santiago

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Rosalita Santiago

First Grade Math and Spanish Language Arts Teacher

Arlington, Virginia

Rosalita Santiago has twelve years of experience in education, teaching kindergarten, first grade, seventh grade, and high school. She is a first grade Math & Spanish Language Arts teacher at Claremont Immersion School in Arlington, Virginia.Rosalita joined the community of Claremont Immersion School in 2014. She is a mentor to a first-year Latino teacher and a teacher leader for her schools pilot program Discovery Education/Digital Learning School.

Her professional experience includes being a lead mentor, a Kindergarten and World language In-service facilitator, a world language curriculum developer, and an ECO school representative. Rosalita is an active participant of her professional learning community. She loves learning as well as collaborating with her peers. She is currently working with her school ITC, Wilmarie Clark, and is starting a new coding club at her school this spring. Her goal is to increase student access and exposure to computer science education through after-school programs. Rosalita graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a B.A., English Secondary level. She earned an M.A., K-12 Technology Integration from Nova Southeastern University. She also obtained M.Ed., P.K.-6 Elementary Education from Marymount University.

Why do you teach?

It is fun and challenging. I enjoy working with children and providing them with opportunities for them to explore, discover, and learn independently and collaboratively through a variety of learning experiences. It is a rewarding career.

What do you love about teaching?

I love all aspects of teaching. It is a dynamic profession! It is an amazing experience to be able to not only plan, create, and deliver learning opportunities for the students, but to learn from students as they immerse themselves in the learning process.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

In my early educational years I would have been considered a transient student. My family moved many times between Puerto Rico and New Jersey as well as within New Jersey. I cannot recall a time I felt unwelcomed as I started a new school or returned to my previous school. My teachers were always kind, respectful, and understanding. They made sure I was learning and being challenge. In addition, they also taught my mom how to support me at home in completing homework assignments. I am not able to name a specific teacher, as I was lucky to have a great support system not only at my school but at home. My mom and my older sister were always available to answer my questions and provide support as needed. It is an honor for me to say that all of the teachers that taught me and my family inspired me to be driven and a lifelong learner.