Setting the scene for student success

Binders, pencils, and pens are just a few of the school supplies students and parents will be shopping for as they prepare themselves for the first day of classes. Students aren’t the only ones prepping for the new school year; many teachers across the District are back in the classroom, preparing for the almost 50,000 students who will be attending SAISD schools this year.

Pete Kohrs, a second-grade teacher at Advanced Learning Academy, has some unique school supplies in his classroom. As one walks into his window-lined classroom, a bright yellow, hand-held metal detector, an item popular with beachcombers and treasure hunters, can be seen leaning against the back wall, surrounded by a box of magnets and rocks of all shapes and sizes.

“I am setting up an observation center that will rotate throughout the year and give students the opportunity to touch, feel, observe and explore on their own with very little guidance,” said Kohrs. “Students love to be able to interact with things. If we set the table and give them a way to do that in a safe and exciting way, they really take to that.”

Stephanie Gonzales, a reading teacher at Whittier MS, is surrounded by hundreds of books as she works on moving her classroom to a new space for the new year. She says she is looking forward to being settled into to her new classroom and is excited for the school year to begin.

“I am excited to meet our new students,” said Gonzales. “I love creating a rapport with my kids and am motivated and empowered to help them in their reading because that’s what I am – a reading teacher. I am looking forward to working and learning with them to improve their skills in reading and help them grow.”

Wearing a dark blue jacket with the NASA logo embroidered on the left breast pocket and a space shuttle on the right, Lamar ES fifth-grade teacher Victoria Martinez is also looking forward to the upcoming school year. Martinez explains that this summer she was selected to be part of the selective NASA Summer Liftoff Program in Houston and is working on how to incorporate what she learned in the intensive six-day training into her classroom.

“I am super excited about this year because my kids are going to be learning all about space and at the end of the year, apply it to a PBL (project based learning) on how we are going to help NASA make a habitat on Mars on which we can live,” she said as she put the final touches on a space-themed posterboard outside of her classroom. “Lamar is a great place to teach because I can do these amazing, amazing, amazing programs like this with these kids.”

Classes at Lamar ES begin Aug. 9, and all other SAISD campuses start on August 13.

Teachers