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Employee Spotlight

Meet Sergio Rizzi - EdTech Specialist at the District Office

My journey at Oak Grove began as a kindergarten student at Hayes! After attending Hayes and Davis as a student, I returned to Oak Grove as student teacher at Ledesma in 2005 and then taught 5th grade at Oak Ridge for 9 years until moving into the EdTech position in 2014. I love being able to still work with students as well as exploring different possibilities that technology can integrate with the classroom and education in general. I love working with the Oak Grove staff and students as the internal reward of giving back to a district that provided so much to me is just the icing on the cake.

March 2020 was definitely a call to action for EdTech. I feel that with all the restrictions that were put in place, I still was able to make myself as available as possible to assist the district, staff, and students with any needs or questions they had. I feel like all the work I do ties directly into the core values of our district. The chance to integrate these values into my lessons, support, communication, and planning allows me to better connect with our community and reinforce the importance of the values that Oak Grove holds.
Google Workspace Updates: https://workspaceupdates.googleblog.com/
OGSD EdTech Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=OGSD%20EdTech
OGSD EDTech blog, http://edtechogsd.blogspot.com/

Meet Steve Harmon - EdTech Instructional Coach at the District Office

After being a classroom teacher at Davis for thirteen years, I find being an EdTech a great opportunity to share my special skills and knowledge with others. I love learning, trying new things, and imparting that learning to others, so EdTech is the perfect blend of these passions as it is constantly changing and new technology, services and ideas are always being developed.

Distance Learning has been a challenge over the past year, but in many ways it allows the strengths of EdTech to be brought to the forefront for every part of education: teachers, students, staff, families, and the community! Especially at the beginning of shelter-in-place, we have all had a huge learning curve on how to deliver quality instruction; my part has been to try to stay ahead of curve and find ways for that instruction to be delivered in a safe manner to the students.

Technology is a tool, or rather, a tool box. By teaching others to use these tools effectively, they are able to use them to exhibit the core values of the District in the work that they do to improve the education of our students. The EdTech Appointment Slots are definitely something that all of our staff can (and should!) take advantage of: https://sites.google.com/oakgrovesd.net/distancelearning/edtech-appointment-slots
 
Meet Bruce Neff- EdTech Specialist at the District Office
 
I have been a part of OGSD for twenty years, have spent 9 years as a classroom teacher and 11 as an EdTech Specialist. The first three years in this role, I was the only EdTech in the district but with the rise of use in classroom technology, I am honored to have been joined by Steve Harmon and Sergio Rizzi expanding our team to three. I enjoy the challenges of being an EdTech because it provides me the opportunity to constantly be both a learner and a teacher due to the ever evolving changes in this field. Over the years, I have worked on many committees as well as received numerous awards and recognitions for the work I do at the district, county and state level. However, I still get my greatest sense of accomplishment when I am able to help someone understand something they have been struggling with and I see that they ""get it"" now. I guess at my core, I am a teacher and that is what brings me joy.

Up until recently, I have been working from my "home office" providing support via Google Meet and a variety of other video conferencing platforms. The ability to "meet" with others in this format created more opportunities to assist those I could not in a traditional setting. It has always been my goal to approach my work with the core values of the district in mind. Having been in the district for over 20 years these values have become a subconscious guide for how I interact with others everyday. Respect and Integrity have always been an integral part of who I am as a person throughout my life. Working with a team with like minded goals where Student Learning and Quality Performance are at the forefront of our goals has made it easy to develop a Positive Interdependence over the years as well. In my role as an EdTech, our team has developed and curated many resources to support Staff, Students, and Community. 
 
Ed Tech
 
Ed Tech
 

4/23 Meet Amelia Hill, District Community Liaison

 

Amelia began her work in Oak Grove as a parent volunteer in 1997.  She formally joined OGSD as an employee in May of 2001 as a community liaison with a special focus of support our African American community.  Recently, Mrs. Hill was recognized by ALLIED with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the Dream Keepers ceremony for her years of service.  In her role as community liaison, she supports school sites to connect families with the districts programs and services.  She is there to welcome families and provide them with information to make the best choices for their families and to connect then with the bigger community.

 

Mrs. Hill was one of the originators of the DreamKeepers Awards, Koffee Klatch Parents Group, and Koffee Klatch Kids Clubs, and is one of the founding members of the Lantern Literacy Project.  Her passions and drive is to provide service to our students, parents and the African American community. Through creating and facilitating events such as the STEM & Leadership Program Coordinator, Dr. Greene Scholars, 100 Black Men, NAACP, 100 Black Women, Intel Carver Scholars, SCCABE, Black Engineers, Black Physicist.

 

She launched the Lantern Literacy Reading Program at 5 schools with the support of  BLACK & SCCABE Community Leaders and Volunteers, Retired Teachers, Unity Care, and other community groups. She also coordinated/facilitated: Field Trips, Cultural Enrichment Programs, and Clubs for Black/Brown Students of Color during or after school that included the following specific activities: Girls of Color Writing Club, Reading and Math Tutoring Club, Girls Role Model & Princess Club, College Tours [SJSU, Santa Clara University, UC Santa Cruz, Stanford, UC Davis, Berkeley, Evergreen, De Anza & Foothill College], ALAS Conferences and Historical Black College ([HBCU) Field Trip and Conferences.

 

Amelia shared her beliefs regarding the district’s core values:

Student Learning: My belief and mindset is that all children should have the opportunity to become   academically successful. Discuss with the parents that our schools are safe and nurturing for all student success.”

“Positive Interdependence: Provide examples to the parents of how our schools value student relationship with the teachers as they connect and tie-in day-to-day instructions being mindful of your child’s home environment.”

“Quality Performance:   I reassure the parents that our schools are committed to the students with creative and motivated learning with the best and ethical teacher instructions.  I support the schools to provide 21- Century activities and project base learning to show that the students are moving and advancing educationally.”

“Inclusivity:  I discuss with the parents that the schools environment respect and values all students by providing the opportunity to learn and acquire the best educations possible with a little work and support. We want all ethnicity, cultures, genders, race and nationality to be able to express themselves in a comfortable and safe environment.”

“Integrity:  Discuss with parents that we all want and provide ethical and honest communication and positive interaction between students, teachers and staff for a full experience at school.”

Respect:  We want our students and parents to know that the district and schools value and respect all individuals, their differences, and diversity within the community”.

 

Amelia Award

 

Ameila

3/11/21  Meet School Secretary, Maria Medrano
 
Maria Medrano is the bilingual secretary for Del Roble and the Two-Way Bilingual Immersion (TWBI) Program.  Maria loves working with the Del Roble staff and is their biggest cheerleader always participating in their Friday Spirit Days. She has fun posting photos of the spirit days for families to see and also prints the Spirit Day pictures to set up class bulletin boards in the hallways for students to see when they return.  Here is more from Maria:
 
"I am honored to have received an Hispanic Spirit Award in 2019, I serve on the DELAC and DAC committees, I also am a part of the CSEA union leadership team as the secretary and the CSEA union site representative for Del Roble. I am very passionate about our District and what it stands for." 

"I cherish all the students in Del Roble: the variety of personalities, ethnicities, and chaos they bring into my life and what I can learn from them. I care for them, I respect them, I laugh with them, and I sympathize with them. I am blessed to be able to watch them grow not only academically but personally, finding the strengths and individuality they have inside.The staff I work with is like family to me. We are a big melting pot of ethnicity, culture, and personalities. We support one another and bring out the best in each other. I am in awe at the hard work, dedication, creativity, and innovative thinking they use to support our students and families. I wake up every day excited and grateful to go to work!"
 
Maria has been in the office supporting families even during the shelter in place. She is engaging with families and staff via phone, email, ParentSquare, and Del Roble's Facebook and Instagram pages.
 
Maria says Oak Grove schools provide a positive, predictable, consistent and safe learning environment. I am supporting this through positive attitude (always smiling), showing up daily, keeping offices open to the community, answering community questions and concerns, keeping up to date on mental resources provided by the District for our families, making sure materials/resources for students are available, and providing families with information on various workshops. Connecting individually with families and building personal relationships with those in need.
 
Maria.Maria 2
2/25/21
 
Meet Eustolia "Carmen" Ramirez our District Office Child Nutrition Services Warehouse Special Delivery I worker. 
 
Carmen has a position that supports and works with all of our 17 school sites.  She supports our School Site Kitchens throughout the District and can be found driving throughout our community to make sure our schools receive their deliveries.  Carmen is a member of the District's AFSME Labor Group and is a proud classified employee.  Carmen is one of three food service delivery specialists and she has taken on the Lead role while her co-worker is out on leave.  Carmen has worked extremely hard to ensure the food service warehouse is operated smoothly so all sites and the community continue to be served during this pandemic.
 
When asked about her job in Oak Grove, Carmen said "I love my job. I love working with the CNS staff and my CNS team. I love knowing that my job serves the community, especially during these uncertain times. While we are still coming in to work every day and have been since Covid began, it gives me great pleasure knowing that I still have the opportunity to serve my community and the fact that I still have a job is a blessing."
 
"I support the core values of the district by making sure each child and family has food to eat, especially during these times." 
 
Carmen continues to work daily on delivery fresh food for meals and meals kits so that the CNS team can continue to provide breakfast and lunch meals three times a week at nine school sites each week! 

2/11/21

 

Meet Kellee Humphrey – English Language Development teacher at Caroline Davis Intermediate    

                  

Ms. Humphrey has been an OGSD educator since 2005, working with students as a classroom teacher and/or instructional coach. She is active in several district committees including the DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) as well as a part of the OGEA teacher’s union leadership as the Committee Chair for Equity and Human Rights. 

 

Here is her story:

“I am honored to have received various district-level recognitions but my most fulfilling accomplishment is seeing the growth of my students over time. The smiles and the laughs, as well as their academic achievement, verify that I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing, creating joy and the love of learning. Those smiles and laughs shared with me are what keeps me going and returning year after year. Sometimes there are tears and heartache but that too, inspires me to give all I can as their teacher.

 

Academic success is important but academic access is my goal. My passion as a teacher evolves as I mature and the world around us changes. The root of my passion lies in helping students find who they are, appreciate who they are, love who they are, and to dream as though they have no barriers. After 16 years working in elementary, there is one thing that remained the same at the intermediate level in reference to student engagement... relationship building! Distance learning has made this a challenge but it is still important, perhaps even more important now. I have found it necessary to approach students on their own terms and respect their limitations. In Distance Learning, I am providing more space and time for students to share and discuss. I try to create lessons and assignments that are relevant and interesting. All the while, offering grace and opportunities to be the best they can while experiencing something that is new to all of us.  

         

District adopted curriculum is the core of my lessons and provides a general pacing guide for the year. However, I adjust the curriculum to make sure it is accessible to my students. This may include altering time frames and incorporating supplemental material. I also like to offer diverse perspectives and images that relate to the students and purpose of the class.

 

I believe our greatest resource is communicating and sharing with one another. We all can take time to find links and such, but having the opportunity to dialogue with one another is powerful.    “

OGSD Spotlight -
 
2/4/21 Kirat Sachdev - Baldwin 2nd Grade
 
Meet Ms. Sachdev as she shares her passion for education in her own words:

“My teaching and my culture is diverse and diasporic. My intersectionality is always, already around and is breathed into my practice as a queer South Asian educator. Safe space is an action in my classroom and I strive to model safety by leading and teaching with love, compassion, and warmth from a working anti-racist and decocolonial lens. Like many of us in this work, I share, care, show up, lift up, lean in, amplify voices, and heal. With students at the heart, serving and supporting the trifecta of staff, students, and community is my passion. That is the current mission of the OGEA Equity Committee that I am a member of. I also serve as the LGBTQ+ Contact and Secretary for OGEA (Oak Grove Educators Association). An OGEA magnet I have reads, “Here for the Kids, Here for Each Other '', and it reminds me that in working to support other educators, we support generations of students, including those we may never meet. Social justice educators and BIPOC educators are warriors. They highlight voices, see color, understand caste, feel trauma and let it inform their practice in every moment of every day. I stand on the shoulders of many of those educator warriors. I feel great gratitude for the educators that I’ve met, including those that I’ve worked alongside. This work takes ALL of us!

I show up and suit up every morning as I am. I am an educator leader that is not unwilling to share my vulnerability. I use the power of “both/and” often. I normalize and utilize where I’m at, including my joys AND my struggles. My class knows by now that we’re doing this mysterious AND magnificent thing together. We talk, chat, emoji, boogie, giggle, goof, glitch, crash, sing, read, AND repeat! I engage students with letting them engage me with what they need. Chatting and talking is the most engaging tool for Distance Learning so far. Breakout Rooms, Small Groups, Student/Office Hours, Jamboard Partner/Collaborative Work, and Brain/Boogie Breaks seem to yield the strongest student engagement.”

Ms. Sachdev is making the most of the themes and theories of our SEAL units and applying a “Less is more” philosophy. She thinks the most beneficial outcome so far is that we’ve converted all of our “Language Function” charts, chants, and sentence frames into colorful and crafty Google Slide Decks. Thank you, Baldwin 2nd Grade!
A resource she would like to share is Welcoming Schools (welcomingschools.org) it has welcomed her to a wealth of tools, resources, and books. She first heard about this project at a conference years ago and now she utilize it regularly. Welcoming Schools justifies my equity work. It affirms that all students, of all genders, races, and abilities need and deserve to be safe and heard.
 
To learn more - read her personal letter to her 12 year old self that was shared at our DEIB Committee.
 
1/25/21
Matteo Enna - Kindergarten at STEAM@STIPE
Mr. Enna has been teaching Kindergarten at STEAM@Stipe (previously known as Stipe Elementary School) for the past 16 years. His goal is to provide an academically rich and engaging classroom experience, that is both culturally and racially affirming, as children begin their journey as lifelong learners. He is proud of his biracial identity, and through this lens he provides a committed focus to Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and increasing the number of teachers of color.
 
Mr. Enna has engaged students during distance learning through his humor, energy, and ability to establish relationships with his class. Distributing weekly STEAM kits filled with hands-on experiences has provided his students with opportunities to explore, create, and design.
 
Students in Mr. Enna’s class are immersed in rich academic language as they learn about the world around them through the standards-based district adopted curriculum. Mr. Enna enriches the content by including strategies that bring curiosity and joy to the kindergarten classroom.
 
Mr. Enna finds inspiration from educators like Christopher Emdin, Gholdy Muhammad, Bettina Love, and Travis Bristol. Their work continues to drive his success and goals in and outside the classroom. He believes it is imperative of educators to learn from and listen to Black scholars and researchers.
 
You can find him on Twitter @MrEnna79 or read more @https://docs.google.com/.../1p4ErECVxwdimTVF1qyw5.../edit...
Congratulations to the 20-21 Innovative Spirit Award Winners:
Here is the criteria to receive the Innovative Spirit Vision Award.
- Actively takes risks to seek and implement change by considering different perspectives to improve the
  educational setting
- Participates in collaborative relationships which promote/support a dynamic environment for learning
- Consistently creates projects that exceed conventional standards
- Inspires enthusiasm for change and risk taking
Community Involvement Awards
 
The recipients were selected based on the following criteria:
*Actively supports the Oak Grove School District vision elements in the community at large.
*Participates in programs, organizations and activities which make our community a better place for children
*Makes a significant positive contribution to the Oak Grove schools, the educational community and the community at large