California Educator

April 2017

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Page 34 of 57

I N S PA N I S H , La Promesa means "the promise." It is also the name of a Calistoga High School course that provides students with real-life teaching experience that could lead to careers in STEM (science, technology, engi- neering and math) education. Maggie Swarner, who teaches the two-semester class, believes the promise is also about the program's com- mitment to diversifying and strengthening the teacher pipeline during an epic teacher shortage in a state where 73 percent of students are people of color, compared to 29 percent of teachers. Swarner's students learn how to develop lesson plans and try them out on youngsters in nearby elementary schools under the supervision of their regular teacher. ey also serve as mentors and role models to youths at the schools, where they serve as teachers in training. During a recent class at the high school, students are working in groups to create lessons about the environment based on the Next Generation Science Standards. One ambitious group decides they will ask kindergartners to keep a weather journal based on their observation of weather patterns throughout the school week, and write and draw their observations. " We should make th em cut out th e cloud s with scissors so they can develop their fine motor skills," suggests a student. Another recommends a "word wall" with "weather words" attached that youngsters could place on a background to improve their reading com- prehension and vocabulary skills. The group decides the youngsters would also enjoy a "wet activity" such as creating clouds from shaving cream or making snow from ice. "I'm very proud of these students," says Swarner, a member of Calistoga Associated Teachers. "ey Maggie Swarner, center, with students Chloe Khoury and Elizabeth Escalona. La Promesa Unique program promises new and diverse teachers By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman 33 April 2017 teaching & learning

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