Photos courtesy SISD
Socorro ISD teachers, faculty and staff returned to in-person professional development across the school district with various trainings, meetings, and sessions to prepare for the 2021-2022 school year.
Professional development started strong July 26 when SISD educators returned to campuses and district offices to refine instructional strategies, classroom learning techniques and innovative lessons as they prepared to welcome students back to class after a year and a half of remote learning.
Many teachers and staff members are enthusiastic about the new school year and are especially excited to see their students’ faces in person on the first day of school, August 2.
Educators and support staff participated in numerous professional development events, including principal and assistant principal meetings, SCEI coach and WIN Academy teacher academies, new teacher mentor trainings, Pre-K curriculum training, balanced literacy and project-based learning sessions, school counselor meetings, athletic planning, reboot sessions for elementary teachers, security personnel trainings, Child Nutrition Service managers meeting, and physical education and fine arts conference-style events for educators in those fields.
SISD Interim Superintendent Marta Carmona, M.Ed. attended several meetings to welcome back school leaders and staff for the new year. She also welcomed back all teachers and staff in a convocation video shared across the district, offering words of encouragement and presenting a highlight video celebrating 60 years of achievements in Team SISD.
“Teach with all your heart and compassion, but also give your students the tough love and memorable lessons that they will take with them for a lifetime,” Carmona said in the video. “I appreciate you and I hope you absolutely take every moment and chance to Seize Your Opportunity as part of the Socorro ISD family. Thank you and don’t forget to lead with your heart!”
SISD educators were inspired for their week of training and ready to collaborate and support one another to be ready for a successful school year.
“It’s extremely and critically important to help our teachers, to support our teachers, and to let our teachers know that we are here for them, and we do that through training,” said Rosemary De La Rosa, a bilingual facilitator for the SISD Bilingual Department. “That’s how they get the information and skills that they need to succeed in the classroom and that is going to directly impact the students.”
Educators such as Marcela Martinez, a second-grade dual language teacher at Dr. Sue A. Shook Elementary, said this year will be crucial to help students get back on track after a year of predominantly virtual learning.
“This year is very special because we’re going back to teaching in-person and last year was very different, so I think we could all use a refresher on different strategies and activities that we can do for our students so that they can feel comfortable learning the language,” Martinez said.
Teachers were excited to take what they were learning at the trainings and add it into their classroom curriculum to help their students develop into the best scholars they can be.
“As a teacher I always try to think as if I am a student myself,” said Emilio Estrada, a fifth-grade WIN Academy teacher at H.D. Hilley Elementary School. “I try to take everything I learn from any training and implement it in my classroom.”
Many SISD educators felt a sense of normalcy as they attended the professional development after the past unprecedented school year.
“I’m glad to not be teaching in front of a screen this year,” said Liliana Araujo, a bilingual Pre-K teacher at Helen Ball Elementary School. “I can’t wait to see the Pre-K babies in person.”
Special guest and nationally recognized educational staff developer Alice Nine visits Socorro ISD every year to share her teaching techniques and phonics lessons. She was impressed with the energy the SISD teachers displayed.
“I’ve seen so much enthusiasm and excitement here at Socorro,” Nine said. “I’ve heard teachers talk about things they knew they couldn’t do virtually, and I believe we will all be better teachers this year.”
Ana Enciso, a Pre-K teacher at Sgt. Roberto Ituarte Elementary, said she is proud of the Socorro ISD opportunities such as the Pre-K program for young children who are taking their first steps into education. She also appreciates the training teachers receive so that they are equipped with the proper tools to guide the students along their academic journey.
“As an early childhood development teacher, this is where my heart is,” she said. “This is a very important program for the students because this is what’s going to set them up to be successful throughout their school years.”