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‘There is no more honorable a profession.’ Outstanding teachers appreciated at LAUSD meeting

Mike Szymanski | May 4, 2016

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Ana Sanchez teacher Ochoa Learning

Ana Sanchez, Title III coordinator at the Ellen Ochoa Learning Center.

Teachers were praised at a committee meeting Tuesday by LA Unified’s Chief Academic Officer Frances Gipson, honoring this week of celebrating educators, national Teacher Appreciation Week.

“We want to celebrate our teachers, as this is Teacher Appreciation Day, and I want to mark that some of us in this room do not have credentials, but we are all teachers, everybody is. They are all watching us, they are learning from us and we are leading the way. And there may be those of you who may come forward to help us with the future teacher shortage,” Gipson said.

While the meeting was being held downtown, across the country an LA Unified teacher, Daniel Jocz, stood at the White House with President Obama where he was recognized as one of the Teachers of the Year.

Other notable LAUSD educators:
• Anthony Yom: How this math teacher helps kids get perfect scores
• Jan Price: At 71, teacher who feared computers is now an LAUSD tech champion
• Bobby Carr: Chinese educators check out what Alliance charter school does best
• Nancy Se and Jackie Paredes: LA Unified high school puts a focus on computer science and gaming

Gipson introduced several teachers who helped show the Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Equity Committee how they are succeeding in their instruction.

Ana Sanchez was introduced as the Title III coach who trains teachers and helps students with English Learner programs at the Ellen Ochoa Learning Center located in Cudahy.

“She is an immigrant herself and attended seven different schools in LAUSD,” Principal Mara Bommarito said. The school has 1,500 students, about 98 percent Latino, and teachers like Sanchez keep demand for the school high, Bommarito said.

“We do preventive measures and intervening measures,” said Sanchez, who meets with every teacher in the school, often on their conference periods, and goes over the school plan for EL students with the teachers and parents along with the students. Together they focus on development of literacy skills so the students can go on to high school and college.


Adriana Salazar teaches EL students.

“We focus a lot on resiliency,” Sanchez said. “We did model lessons in order for teachers to understand the way in which conversations are specifically taught. I provide daily support and plan weekly with lessons driven by the standards.”

The idea is to integrate students into all the classrooms. Fellow teacher Adriana Salazar has been trained by Sanchez and said, “I grew up as an EL and see myself in these students. I’m excited to see the growth in these students who are growing in confidence and transferring what they are learning to their English and history classes.”

Salazar, who has taught EL classes for three years and often works with the same students year after year, said, “It’s exciting to see that they have the confidence to speak up and not be that student sitting quietly in the back who does not want to be called.”

School board member George McKenna, himself a former math teacher, said to all the teachers at Tuesday’s meeting, “You should all not be ashamed to tout your successes and let people know about the good work you do. There is no more honorable a profession.”

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