My name is Jessica Valera and I am a partner, mother, educator, innovator and explorer. Professionally I am a science teacher, a member of the Instructional Lead Team and the District Instructional Technology Coordinator. I taught at Aragon High School for 9 years and at the American International School in Caracas, Venezuela for 6 years. I currently teach EL Science at the Bridge ELD Newcomer Program.
I strive to create equitable and engaging learning experiences for students that are relevant to their lives and impactful beyond the classroom. This professional philosophy has been influenced partially by my experiences working and living in Caracas, Venezuela. The IB approach to the sciences as inquiry-based and student-driven shifted my approach to teaching content. Field experiences with students in habitat restoration the Galapagos Islands, student-designed marine biology investigations in the Dutch antilles island of Curaçao and other projects closer to home have solidified for me that long-lasting impact learning happens free of a textbook and involves getting your hands dirty! You don’t need a tropical island or fancy equipment to do and learn science. All you need to do is to step outside and be curious with your students.
My greatest professional development experiences have been leaning in and learning alongside my students. “Is it supposed to turn out this way?” “Is this right”? I don’t know - let’s find out! Science is a dynamic process and so is the teaching and learning of science.
The past few years my professional work has shifted from focusing on getting our district’s teachers and students through distance learning to leaning in, learning and shifting my teaching and leadership practice towards being an anti-racist educator. I look forward to engaging with all of you and this critical work.