Academic dean focuses on spotlighting teachers during this school year


The spread of COVID-19 has left students and teachers alike in need of more positivity in their days. It may seem difficult to bring that light to those people, considering the circumstances that are anything but positive. 

Needless to say, with the Teacher Spotlight announced every week on Fridays, Academic Dean Mr. Cynthia Valdillez and Academic Coach Mr. Dylan Stephens are providing that light that is very much needed in our school environment. 

The spotlight is a way to show appreciation for teachers and what they do. 

“It is supposed to highlight their teaching and their lessons, and how teachers are making their Canvas’s accessible and easy to read [for] our students. It’s also to point out all of the hard work we do in and out of the week,” Valdillez said.

There are specific examples of showcasing these events. 

“Recently, we did a Thanksgiving basket drive, and we highlighted it because we exceeded the number of baskets that we were originally trying to collect. And I think that it needs [to be] shown that we are going above and beyond for our students,” Valdillez said. 

There are also other reasons for the spotlight. 

“We also like to highlight our new teachers on campus because, especially in this new environment, we don’t always get to see each other, so there are people on our campus that are brand new. [We are] being able to showcase them and say, ‘Hey, meet this new teacher, and this is what they’re about and some of their personal life,’” Stephens said, “If a teacher wins an award or anything like that, [we are] making sure that we put that out there as well.” 

With these new circumstances, there had to be another way to adapt to the new standards. 

“Importantly, because of COVID, gone are the days where we could walk into teachers’ classrooms and tell them what a good job they’re doing, so it’s really important for us to say, ‘Here’s who people are around campus,’” Valdillez said, “So this shows you who’s doing what on campus, and if they have something really great going on, then [another teacher] could say, ‘I really like that lesson you did, can you help me?’” 

Bringing this spotlight has also brought feedback. 

“So, the teachers and our faculty have given me some type of feedback telling me how they look forward to reading it, they really appreciate it, they really like reading it and seeing what people are doing on campus. They’ve said that they look forward to it, and that makes me happy because it does take time to create it. The fact that people are reading it is important,” Valdillez said. 

The spotlight has been an effort in creating a brighter environment. 

“I’m so glad we decided to start this. One of my favorite things about it is just being able to go and have those connections with the teachers and check in on them and see how they’re doing — showing and telling them that we appreciate them in a different way. To me, the spotlight has really made those connections,” Valdillez said, “That’s what really makes me happy, because being a teacher, we have so much purpose. By inviting me into their classrooms, it means a whole lot.” 

It allows other teachers to learn about their peers. 

“I do the part with the new teachers, and I like getting to know them and learning all these cool facts about them,” Stephens said, “I love the energy it brings to our campus.” 


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