PUC Schools Welcomes 7th Alumni Teach Project Cohort!

by Sarah Seinfeld, Alumni Teach Project Manager

This summer, five ambitious, passionate, and excited new residents began their journey as members of the seventh cohort of the Alumni Teach Project (ATP).  ATP is a culturally responsive Urban Teacher Residency Program that is designed to cultivate and foster leadership skills in new PUC alumni and PUC community educators in order to increase equitable access to highly effective teachers and improve outcomes for all current PUC students.   In partnership with Loyola Marymount University, residents in the program attend courses while simultaneously learn to teach alongside a mentor teacher in a PUC classroom.

The ATP program was created six years ago as one way to fulfill PUC commitment #3, which states that students will commit to uplift our communities now and forever.  Since beginning in 2013, the program has trained 35 teachers, most of whom continue to teach across PUC Schools.  This year’s cohort includes Jannette Alvarado, Joel Aparicio, Christina Rodriguez, Desiray Sandoval, and Maria Villanueva.

Jannette Alvarado has been a part of the PUC family for over 15 years as a student, employee and family member. Ms. Alvarado attended Lakeview Charter Academy and Community Charter Early College High School. She graduated from the California State University of Northridge with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication Studies. During her time as a college student, Ms. Alvarado worked at various schools, including PUC Nueva Esperanza, where her passion for education flourished. Ms. Alvarado will be teaching US History with Ms. Renee Terrebonne at PUC Lakeview Charter High School.

Joel Aparicio is an Alumni from PUC Lakeview Charter High School. He is the first in his family to attend a university. He attended California State University Northridge where he received his Bachelor’s degree in English. Mr. Aparicio developed his passion for education while working as a campus aide and a teacher’s assistant at several PUC schools. Mr. Aparicio will be working at PUC Community Charter Middle School teaching 6th grade English this year with his mentor Ms. Brandy Brown.

Christina Rodriguez was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and attended Reseda High School. She graduated from California State University in Northridge with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies.  Ms. Rodriguez discovered her love of teaching during her time in college and decided to pursue it as her career. Although Ms. Rodriguez is not an alumni of PUC Schools, she is a PUC community member and is looking forward to serving the wonderful community that is PUC. Ms. Rodriguez will be teaching 7th grade math with her mentor Dr. Jay Tartaro at Nueva Esperanza Charter Academy this year.

Desiray Sandoval is an alumni from PUC Community Charter Early College High School. She attended California State Northridge where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. Ms. Sandoval has been a part of the PUC family for many years as a student and then as an employee. Her years working at PUC Community Charter Middle School as an afterschool tutor and inclusion assistant inspired her to pursue a career in teaching.  Ms. Sandoval is looking forward to learning to teach 6th grade math at PUC Community Charter Middle School alongside her mentor Ms. Robin Nistico.

Maria Villanueva was raised in the Northeast San Fernando Valley where she attended San Fernando High School. She went on to attending University of California, Santa Barbara where she graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a minor in Education. After graduating, she began working at PUC Lakeview Charter Academy as an Inclusion Assistant and became actively involved with student extracurricular activities. It was during her work at LCA that she discovered her passion for teaching. As a resident, she will be working with Ms. Karrie Kirchgessner teaching 7th grade math at PUC Lakeview Charter Academy.

All of the new residents hope to make the most of their first year in ATP to learn and grow as educators so that they may be to help uplift the PUC community.  This summer, they learned the foundations of the ATP curriculum and teaching through attending “Jumpstart” (introductory training) as well as New Teacher Learning Lab.   When the school year began, they each took on co-teaching responsibilities in the classroom and have started the year strong! We wish them the best on their journey to becoming teachers this year.