A Dream Realized: From Undocumented to Graduate to Teacher, What I Learned at Rocketship Discovery Prep
by Angelica Del Rio, First Grade Literacy Teacher, Rocketship Discovery Prep
When President Obama passed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) I was able to apply for a work permit and remain legally in the United States. I searched for an opportunity to support kids like me from my neighborhood. I heard good things about Rocketship Discovery Prep so I emailed to see if they had any openings. I was hired as a support staff. I loved the school community at Discovery Prep and I was inspired to pursue a career in education. The following year, I became an ECC and started substitute teaching. My coach, Principal Kaur, was always at my side as I learned the ropes of effective instruction. We would rehearse my lessons together, she was constantly in my class modeling, and always provided actionable feedback after a classroom observation. I grew a lot that year. By the end of the year, I was offered a position to teach first grade literacy.
As I now near the end of my first full year as a teacher I know I still have a lot to learn but I also know that even in just one year I’ve come so far. I’ve struggled with my teaching at times this year, but I am no stranger to struggles. It’s in these struggles that I’ve felt the true power of Rocketship. I am not the first nor will I be the last Rocketship teacher from the neighborhood. Rocketship schools are built upon and around community, and everything we do reflects that. Our network staff and school leaders are extremely thoughtful in picking culturally-relevant units – from the books our kids read to the field trips they take. Our schools are named by and for our parents, reflecting the vision and values of each particular community. It is this embodiment of community support that launches our Rocketeers each and every day.
We are committed to help every Rocketeer grow – every student, every teacher, and every parent in our community. Not only do I get intensive professional development before and during the school year, but I get real support. Support from my principal, my assistant principals, my fellow teachers, and my Rocketeers’ parents. I got encouragement when I was a support staff that I could be a teacher if I worked to get there. Few people have believed in me and given me the tools to make my dreams come true like I’ve seen at Rocketship Discovery Prep. I know there is no better place for me to grow and develop as an educator and make an impact in my community than right here at RDP!
Angelica Del Rio is a First Grade Literacy Teacher at Rocketship Discovery Prep in San Jose, California.
Published on May 22, 2017