The March BAY Teacher of the Month is Blesilda Ilano-Tenorio who received a grant to take her 5th graders on a sea odyssey expedition.
Grant helps middle schoolers learn about marine science in a hands-on way
Bleilda Ilano-Tenorio received a Wells Fargo Teacher Innovation Classroom Grant from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) provide funds for her students trip as part of their study of “Preventing the Sixth Extinction”.
“The purpose of “Preventing the Sixth Extinction”, is a unit to introduce the human effects on our planet. Students will attend the O’Neill Sea Odyssey, a hands on experience to encourage the protection and preservation of our living sea and communities. Furthermore, students will work in the school garden all year long. They will be exposed to the concepts of plant life effecting humans and our oceans. As part of the O’Neill Sea Odyssey, students will contribute to our planet’s regeneration by conducting a community service project. Students will work in teams to organize a project related to design thinking that will lead to the our human responsibility to preserve and protect our earth.”
“The most beneficial aspect of the SVEF Innovation Grants is that students are able to experience the study of science through real life application. By taking students on the O’Neill Sea Odyssey, they will be able to participate in six learning stations in three locations on the Monterey Bay. On a vessel, dock/pier and classroom, students will actively investigate navigation, marine habitats, marine ecology and conservation. By giving students this experience, they learn and build upon the knowledge of human responsibility for our planet. It will be the catalyst to seeing how as humans, we can prevent more damage to our planet.”
Rolling Hills Middle School, Campbell Union School District
“Rolling Hills Middle, one of the District’s three grade 5-8 middle schools, educates a diverse population of approximately 1000 students from Campbell, Los Gatos and Saratoga. Our staff provides a safe and orderly campus, fosters individual creativity, promotes a culture of respect for all, and encourages students to reach their full potential by engaging in their own learning and giving support back to their community.”
The ongoing classroom challenge
“The biggest teaching challenge that is faced by teachers is the need to ensure that the academic, social-emotional and well-being of all of our students are being met. The need for support services at the school level is without doubt a concern that teachers face on a daily level. The fact that we have homeless students, students with learning challenges and students with emotional issues makes teaching the curriculum secondary to giving students a positive environment to spend their day. Challenges are a source of motivation for me. Every student that I am able to help on a daily basis is how I face the challenges.”
After teaching 27 years in a variety of positions, Blesilda is currently teaching 5thGrade at Rolling Hills MS in Campbell Union School District. She has taught all subjects from Kinder through University. Some of her positions have included Equity Coach, Bilingual/ELD & Spanish Teacher, Teacher Mentor and Refugee Grant Coordinator in Santa Clara and San Francisco Unified School Districts and San Jose State University.
“Being a teacher is the most rewarding profession because the daily connection with students and other teachers has contributed immensely to my own life.”