Maria de Lourdes Viloria: Eliminating Deficit Teaching

So after after four years, my husband’s decided that he wanted to be an import export. So of course, we that’s what brought us back to Laredo here in Laredo. I wanted to let it go right, and that’s how we say it here. Not ever. I wanted to work in the school that was the furthest south in Laredo. And I don’t know you have visited Rio, Bravo or Sydney, so but that is it’s a school named Juarez Lincoln. That’s the name of the elementary school. I started working there and this is from here, from time to you is probably like maybe 25 minutes if the traffic is that bad, but that is a completely immigrant community. And I worked there as a pre kindergarten teacher, and I was there only for like probably four months because by that time I already had my master’s in education administration and I applied and I became an assistant principal at Newman Elementary and Elementary became what we called because of this. The data, and this is this is I’m kind of leading into the data piece, all right, because of data, because of the student success.

And Texas is really big on accountability. And so we’re very it’s a very regimented state in terms of performance and performance, teacher performance, administrative performance and everything goes back to those standardized tests at the elementary. We we worked pretty hard. I had a wonderful. And this is kind of like what I kind of going back to the connections. My principal was caused by an ivy there’s and the husband of you. This was the person we call the site supervisor when I was when I started my practicum here and at the other end, completed in Dallas, but he started me off. And so he remembered me from back. You know, the years that we spent as colleagues and he was mentoring me, came back, worked a couple of months ago, what Lincoln and when the opportunity came, I applied. He basically, you know, he knew me, so he selected me as his assistant principal at Newman Elementary. We had tremendous success with student. Now, just keep in mind that because we are working in the Texas system, what we do is we do have a transitional and I’m sure that my colleagues mentioned this to you before we have a transitional program. So our students, even though there might be Spanish speakers coming into the system of Texas, basically states tells us that it is the school districts that we have to transition them to English. And so this school became what we call to recognize campus. We had excellent performance. Our students did great because of all those experiences at that elementary. I probably I think I was there for five years. Then it was time for me to apply for a school principal. So I applied for a school principal and I was named Principal School Principal and 2003 and United Ice-T at Betty’s Elementary . But it’s elementary school, so it’s not deep south, but it’s the south, you know, southern part of the city. Low socioeconomic. I can say that 95% of our students were on low and free or reduced lunch, and the well we call Texas cause those students that are English learners, we call them bilingual, you know, bilingual stories. And so we had in that school when I started, it was like 90% English learners. Now, the data, of course, if you’re just at face value of your perception is that, you know, these are students are at risk students. They probably and I hate to say this, but they are identified or labeled as at risk based on their lack of knowing English or being so low socio economic. Maybe there’s not enough of parental involvement. Just the demographics of the community. So you have all those factors working against the students already. So what I started there in terms of data, and this is kind of like what we’re also doing. The transformation model here at TAMIU is built working with teachers in this, in my case as a school principal. We did a lot of book readings, chapters and look, you know, how to work with students and not work from a deficit perspective, you know, celebrating the students culture, working with the fonts of knowledge that the students bring to the campus, working with the parents. So at that campus I instituted within the school district had uniforms, mandatory uniforms. What we did is we looked for grants. We look for donations for for for uniforms. Now, the thinking behind that is that a student needs to feel good, you know, see themselves, you know, feeling really good about themselves. You know what they see in the mirror. Maybe a lot of things have happened at home. They don’t have. I mean, it’s really sad, but it maybe they didn’t have a clean uniform. And sometimes parents will say, you know, we there were wet. I couldn’t dry them, you know, things like that. So the minute they walked into my school, I’d make sure they had breakfast, make sure they had their uniform. No, once you know, everybody help felt had a positive disposition. Now we knew other things were going, you know, happening at home. So we did a lot of we did a lot of home visits with parents reach out to parents. We also did a school bus tour and that’s kind of like, you know, something similar there. We’re going to start here at of you, you know, taking the teachers and a bus tour of the community. Because even though most of our teachers, you know, I can say 99% of our teachers, our narrator, once there’s still a disparity between, you know, economics, you know, we might we might.

We might be 99.9% Hispanic or Latino or Mexican-Americans. But some teachers do not have any connection to the south or south Laredo and really have lived or experience the disparities that exist in terms of economic differences. So also, you know, we our school had the Ranjeet, though, which is basically those communities that don’t have running water, they don’t have electricity. So I had communities like that, students coming from those areas. So those are also the areas that I took the teachers, you know, we said, OK, we’re going, you’re going to see what the students are coming from because they do come in, you know, they they don’t have electricity, so they sometimes come in smelling like charcoal because that’s how they heat their homes, right? Or they don’t have running water. So that’s that’s what we did. You know, we basically did book studies about the culture like, you know, we had the I had hadn’t read the Agila Venezuela’s book I. We worked on just, you know, having a lot of discussion, you know, to eliminate the the the the deficit, but a teaching because unfortunately, even though you know, the teachers maybe came to school here at you or like they only they already have their own perceptions about students, you know, and how to it’s a normalized way of teaching that we needed to eradicate. So slowly but surely know that they’re sorry to happen now,

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