April 26, 2018 by HCDE-Texas
Rookie teacher Nataly Trevino takes pride in the impact she’s making in her community. She teaches preschool at Ketelsen Elementary, an ethically-diverse, urban school located in Near Northside, the historic, downtown neighborhood where she was raised.
Trevino’s classroom is a bright hub for learning. The walls are covered in colorful art projects and the room is filled with engaging activity centers. Students are energized as they begin each day with singing and dancing and reviewing expectations before moving into the day’s assignments.
The energetic teacher-in-training is enrolled in Harris County Department of Education’s teacher alternative certification program. The program provides personalized training for aspiring teachers as qualified college graduates enter the program and spend seven to 10 months in pre-service training taking teacher preparation courses. The next 12 months are spent teaching and taking additional coursework.
“The small class sizes in HCDE’s program allow me to have more one-on-one time with teachers and peers,” said Trevino. “The program molded me into a highly qualified teacher and gave me the confidence I needed in this profession.”
Since 2011, the program has recorded an average 99 percent pass rate for students completing the courses and taking the certification exams, said Lidia Zatopek, director for HCDE’s Education Certification and Professional Advancement. Assistance is provided in securing teaching assignments in elementary or secondary education classrooms.
Before Trevino decided to pursue her teaching certification, she was a teaching assistant for four years at Ketelsen. She enjoys working with young children during this crucial stage in their development. In addition to progressing in academics, her preschool students are learning important social skills, cognitive skills and emotional development.
Trevino also focuses on responsibility and problem-solving in the classroom. Students are encouraged to communicate with each other and work together to find solutions to their issues. Trevino’s encouraging and energetic teaching style is one of several reasons she was nominated for the Texas Alternative Certification Association Intern of the Year, an award recognizing outstanding new teachers in alternative certification programs.
In her first year as a teacher, Trevino has seen major growth in her students, from learning their letters and numbers to problem solving to discovering new talents. What makes her job more fulfilling, however, is the fact that she’s teaching in her home community.
“I’m blessed and proud to see these positive impacts in the neighborhood where I was raised and continue to live in,” said Trevino.