A New Teacher Returns to Her Alma Matter

November 5, 2015

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First year resident teacher Stephanie Alejandre started her new job this fall on a very familiar campus - the same campus she graduated from in 2011 as a senior at Aspire Cal Prep in Richmond. After graduation, Alejandre went on to a four-year college where she eventually decided that she wanted to teach, and through Aspire's unique Teacher Residency program, Alejandre is now earning her credential while teaching in the same classrooms that she once frequented as a student.

"Sometimes when I walk the halls I feel like I am still a student," said Alejandre. "It brings back memories of being in high school, and it is nice to have the perspective of being both a student and a teacher here."

Returning to her alma matter in Richmond is deeply meaningful for Alenjandre, who knows first hand the impact a teacher can have on his/her students.

"I transferred to Cal Prep for my last two years of high school, and it was the teachers here who made me believe that I could go to college. I remember really struggling in math when I first got here. My math teacher was super supportive and I was able to get my first A-plus in math and that was something I never thought I could have achieved."

In her role as a teacher, Alejandre hopes to inspire her students in the same way.

"Everyday that I am here I know that a lot of the time, my students may not feel like they are college worthy, " said Alejandre. "But everyday that I am here I hope to motivate them in some way."

Aspire's Cal Prep campus serves students in grades 8-12, with over 65% of students on Free and Reduced Lunch. 100% of graduating seniors from the diverse school community have been accepted to four-year colleges and universities.

Alejandre is not only passionate about motivating her students to go to college, but she is also focused on teaching them the skills they need to be successful once they get to college.

"I am big on teaching self advocacy skills and encouraging students to reach out when they need help. I try to be so supportive now, because in college there is no one guiding you, and I want to make sure they know how to advocate for the help that they need," said Alejandre.

While all the students and staff are excited to have Alejandre back on campus, one student in particular had some initial concerns about having her teach his World History class - her younger brother and Cal Prep sophomore, Chris.

"At first he told me he was going to misbehave and give me a hard time," said Alejandre. "But I told him that I would really like his support and it has been great to have him in my class. Now I can ask him for feedback and how to improve and it has been really helpful!"

Alejandre will complete her residency year this spring, and will receive her teaching credential and Masters degree from University of the Pacific. For Alejandre, the Aspire Teacher Residency program has been a perfect fit.

"It's such a great way to give back to the school that inspired me to go to college," said Alejandre.