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Superintendent Sayavedra kicks off 2022-23 Teacher Advisory Council

(PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CENTER – Aug. 24, 2022) – Superintendent Diana Sayavedra kicked off her 2022-23 Teacher Advisory Council Tuesday afternoon giving the 2022 campus teachers of the year an opportunity to provide her with direct feedback and a link to classrooms districtwide.

“As the superintendent of the largest district in the county, it can be easy to lose touch of the core business of what we do in our schools,” Sayavedra told the council. “Those of you who are on the frontlines making it happen and performing the magic as you work with children, it’s important to stay in touch with you and learn from you the realities of what is going on in the classroom so I can be a better leader and provide better instruction.”

Sayavedra launched the Teacher Advisory Council initiative last year during her 90-day plan to ensure she heard directly from teachers to “problem solve together and make the experience for teachers much more joyful.” The council, which has so far been made up of the campus teachers of the year from each campus, meets monthly.

Tuesday’s Teacher Advisory Council included mindful moment presentation by Sandra Montes-Uranga, director of social emotional learning. She spoke about the benefits of being mindful and offered mindfulness tips to use at home and in the classroom to ease anxiety and stress.

Alan Wiernicki, chief operations officer, and Marivel Macias, chief of organizational transformation and equity, also presented the district’s Enrollment Stabilization Plan. Liza Rodriguez, chief communications officer, spoke about the district’s new Attendance Campaign. They provided information on El Paso ISD’s attendance decline and the plan to increase enrollment and attendance districtwide.

“It truly starts with us,” Macias said. “If we give them a quality experience, we will continue to stay steady and eventually regain them. We needy our brain. What is it at your campus that we can do to keep our families?”

Sayavedra concluded the session by asking the teachers to read to an article about teacher morale and wellness, which will be an ongoing topic for the group, and discuss how to apply it to El Paso ISD.

“I want us to be morale doctors,” she said referencing an article. “What is really happening out there? What is putting stress on the system? When are the critical times we need to begin diagnosing?”

The suggestions and discussion will be brought back to the September meeting.

“What I want to do is engage you in a conversation that starts today,” she said. “We will have to consider teacher morale and wellness over time.”

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Story by Reneé de Santos
Photos by Leonel Monroy, Jr.