The Next Generation of ATP Residents Begin their Journey in a Digital World

By: Sarah Seinfeld (ATP Manager)

Amidst the Covid-19 health pandemic and nation-wide protests, four determined, passionate, and eager teacher candidates emerged ready to begin their journey as members of the eighth cohort of Alumni Teach Project (ATP).  The need for strong educators to support children is needed now more than ever.   These individuals have chosen to dedicate their energies to doing this challenging work and committing to a minimum of 5 years teaching at PUC schools.  The ATP program will help them along their path, cultivating their skills not only as culturally responsive teachers, but also as leaders and advocates for social justice.

The ATP program was created seven years ago as one way to fulfill PUC commitment #3, which states that students will commit to uplift our communities now and forever.  The program is open to PUC alumni and community members who wish to make an impact in the communities we serve.  Residents in the program attend courses while simultaneously learn to teach alongside a mentor teacher in a PUC classroom in partnership with Loyola Marymount University. Since beginning in 2013, the program has trained 40 teachers, most of whom continue to teach across PUC Schools.  This year’s cohort includes Michael Ayon, Miguel Curiel, Daisy Cisneros, and Stephanie Garcia.

Michael Ayon is a former student of San Francisco State University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies. In his free time, he likes to listen to and produce music.  He worked at PUC Lakeview Charter High School as an Inclusion Assistant last year and is now working as a 7th grade math resident at PUC Nueva Esperanza Charter Academy with Dr. Jay Tartaro as his mentor.  He has expressed much gratitude for his experience already because, “Dr. Tartaro has already displayed tremendous care and leadership qualities that I can try to emulate.” Michael is looking forward to gaining the knowledge and experience needed as a resident to become as effective as possible for students.

Miguel Curiel attended Pierce College and then transferred to CSUN where he received my bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. He decided to pursue teaching because of he was inspired by his three-year-old daughter.  He worked as an Inclusion Aid at PUC Community Charter Middle School and is continuing his tenure at the school by working as a 6th grade math resident with Ms. Robin Nistico. Miguel shared his initial thoughts on his experience thusfar: “This first week of Site Days have been very exciting because I am getting a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtains and all the planning involved.” While he knows this will be an overwhelming experience, he is confident in his ability to learn quickly.

Daisy Cisneros has been part of PUC family for over 14 years as a student, employee, and family member.  She attended PUC CCMS for middle school and graduated from PUC CCECHS in 2012.  She then became the first in my family to attend a university and graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare and a minor in Education. After getting her degree, Daisy wanted to came back to CCECHS, where she served as an Inclusion Aid.  Reflecting on how her experience shaped her decision to join ATP, she said, “Working for PUC as an Inclusion Aid made me realize that I was destined to continue my career path as an Education Specialist.” She is working with Mr. Jessey Duran at PUC Lakeview Charter High School as she learns to about the world of Special Education during a time of distance learning.

Stephanie Garcia is a CSUN Alumni with a Bachelor’s Degree in Deaf Studies. She has been in the PUC family for about 2 years, serving as an After-School Tutor at CALS Middle School and an Inclusion Assistant at CALS Early College High school. She is now very excited to be joining PUC Lakeview Charter High School as a resident with mentor Mr. Jessey Duran. Stephanie is passionate about helping others and says, “I am the person to talk to if you ever want to learn American Sign Language!”

All of the new residents hope to make the most of the current situation with distance learning and have already demonstrated their resilience through the spring and summer online experiences.  They have embraced the changes and unpredictability of the school year and are learning one of the most important lessons of teaching: how to be flexible.  After completing a week of online training called “Jump Start,” the residents of Cohort 8 are ready to take on whatever this school year brings!