Ms. Dicuffa walks the few steps into Ms. Rutz room with a blue frosted cupcake in hand
“You eat the cupcake.”
“No!” Ms. Rutz adamantly shakes her head
“Okay, I’ll eat it, but only if you split it with me.”
Ms. Dicuffa and Ms. Rutz laugh in the ‘pod’ (an area where the counselors and foundation members work) and argue over whether to split a cupcake or not. This is one of the countless intimate moments teachers share with one another.
The students are encouraged to embrace sisterhood and create a community between themselves, but where do they get the idea to achieve this? The staff takes the lead to embody these ideals for students.
“Our community is a sisterhood just like the same one the girls have in the classroom. We all support each other and help each other.” Ms. Martinez, the registrar, said. That requires a bond away from the students. “This is the only school I have worked at that I actually look forward to our professional development days because I get to see everyone and chill with them.” Ms. Castano, assistant principal of high school, said.
The relationships that the staff creates makes a difference in the work they do. Staff feel like they can put more effort into the task they do and get more out of it.
“ Even when work is really rough you get your energy from the people around you, just like students” Ms.Rutz, Lead Counselor, said. “ We are friends with each other outside of work, it’s important that we are able to spend the day with each other and like each other enough to hang out outside of work.”
When the staff has the energy to work, the students pick up on those vibes.
“In a way, we are role models, in terms of working together.” This then gives the students “peace of mind that you can come to any of us (staff).” Ms. Martinez said.
When the staff is happy that translates into the environment.
“I like to see the relationship between the teachers and the students, it is beyond friendship. The teachers really care about y’all and the students have confidence talking to teachers”. Ms. Loera, Ann Richards bookkeeper, said.”(Everything the staff does) help us feel like we are contributing to the team.”
By creating a welcoming environment it encourages others to come into school and participate in our academic and extracurricular affairs. “Liking the community here is important because otherwise, it would be a nightmare to come into work,” Ms. Martinez said. “ It definitely makes a difference to have a good community.”
When Ms. Loera moved here a year and a half ago, she was nervous about what type of environment she would be coming into. “I came to a campus where we were close and it was scary for me to move to a different campus,” Ms. Loera said, “ and it took me half a year to feel comfortable. I (now) feel like I am in the right place.”
Whether it is through coffee breaks, shared passions or just the mundane of seeing everyone every day, there is a real community in the staff. Staff members are excited to come into school and use that positive energy to help the students achieve the best of their abilities. They come together to role model how students should come together with one another. “I think the combined love we have for the students is something that brings us all together,” Ms. Castano said.