Marisol Garcia-Undiano, a kindergarten teacher for two years at Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School, was recently invited to share her experiences with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Garcia-Undiano participated in a roundtable discussion on Jan. 17 focusing on teacher recruitment, teacher preparation, retention and salary. She was a student of Texas Tech University’s TechTeach program, which was also part of the discussion.
She said it was incredible to speak to such high-level officials about her teacher-preparation program and first years of teaching.
“It was uplifting to see that they took the time to listen and ask thoughtful questions,” she said. “It was rewarding to have the opportunity to give back to Texas Tech and Jack Lowe by bragging about all the things I believe we are doing right!”
Of the TechTeach program, she said the program did a lot to prepare her for the classroom, including placing her with high-quality mentors in Dallas ISD for an entire academic year of student teaching, as well as summer school; training to evaluate herself daily, reflect on experiences use daily data collection and analysis to guide instruction.
The trip showed Garcio-Undiano that there are many positions in educational policy that teachers should fill.
“My visit to D.C. was eye-opening,” she said. “Sometimes as educators we go with the status quo because ‘that is just what our lawmakers have decided for us.’ We owe it to our students and our colleagues to take our knowledge and experience beyond our classrooms and district.”
Lowe Elementary is also receiving recognition beyond the district. The school is one of three Dallas ISD schools being considered for a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School Award. For Lowe, the recognition is part of an incredible turnaround from just four years ago, when the school was an Improvement Required campus. Excellent teachers are just part of the winning formula at Lowe.
“My favorite part of being a teacher is getting a front-row seat to my student’s growth and progress as they develop into little humans,” Garcia Undiano said. “I get to be there to cheer them on when they master a new skill, learn to tie their shoes, become better friends, or lose a tooth!”