Having seen the success of its Careers and Community Campus years ago, Zavala Primary School wanted to revive it.
The Kindergarten to Grade 2 campus recently received a $ 3,000 grant from the Oliver Foundation to recreate it. Through extracurricular and in-class lessons in economics, math, language arts, fine arts, and community education, students will implement a mini-society-style program. The program covers all areas of the program and includes health, wellness and fitness.
Ultimately, the school aims for a mini-city with businesses, peacekeepers, community helpers, medical clinics, a court system, and many of the same ingredients that make up an actual city.
Some storefronts and supplies will be sponsored by businesses in the area, while others will need funding. The goal is for each student to have a job and a goal in the community.
Director Tanya Galindo hopes to bring vocational and technical education students to build the storefronts.
The campus has around 400 students, Galindo said.
On a recent Wednesday, teacher Sandy Huertas presented a lesson on the health benefits of fruits and vegetables and the colors of the rainbow.
The students were given small pieces of peppers and fruit to place on a rainbow-shaped cardboard plate. They also answered questions about the product’s benefits by saying what it was good for, such as treating inflammation.
Adalyn Mata said she is aware of reversible and non-reversible changes, such as when you boil an egg, it cannot revert to its previous shape.
Devin Compton said the lesson “felt good”.
“We have learned to eat healthy food…” said Compton.
He added that he believes healthy eating is something he will continue to strive for as he gets older.
Galindo said that Huertas, the teacher at Magnet School, sees all the students in the school throughout the week, so they all receive the same lessons.
She also has students who participate in the Magnet program, or Choice, who get an hour at the end of the day.
“We try to teach a bit of everything,” Huertas said.
She added that she also tries to incorporate reading, for example. Huertas said the lessons seem to stick to the students.
“… I know myself growing up, if it was practical, I had fun above all I could taste it; I loved it and it was memorable for me… ”she said.
Huertas noted that students still bring up things from last year. A student found a seed in an orange and said he was going to plant it.
“They learn it and they remember it,” Huertas said.
She also wants to make sure that the students understand the health aspects, as it is not only good now, but also later in life, and it can impact their families.
Galindo said this program was something Zavala had done even before receiving the grant.
“I was a classroom teacher here before I became a principal. I was a teacher here, then assistant principal. During this time, we were a micro-society campus. A micro-company is a mini-company in which students set up their own business. They have to write business plans; they must pass a job interview; they have to buy supplies; they create their own products; then they sell their products, ”Galindo said.
“We had a health clinic; we had a judicial system. We had peace officers; lots of businesses; we had a training center. So we’re doing a mini-version right now with the community and the career (initiative). Our ultimate goal is to become a micro-society campus again. These are lifelong skills that we teach our students, so when they grow up and are in high school, they’re ready to find a job. They already have these skills, ”added Galindo.
She said the school didn’t have an after-school magnet program last year because of COVID, but this year it does. “So we start over with that. And Celeste Potter and the Education Foundation helped and Dr (Susan) Lara helped write the grant. First Basin (Credit Union) adopted our campus, so they help us run our storefronts. They will come and teach our students basic banking courses; talk about financial literature and literacy, and teach them how to open a savings account and how to write checks because they will have to do it with our mini-society that we will have on campus. And then we have JSA Architects; they also graciously helped us on our campus with what we need, ”said Galindo.
She added that students and parents are happy that the Careers and Community program is back.
“… The kids are really excited because they can experience it in person, and they are coming, just like today with the rainbow activity, we are learning why these different fruits and vegetables are good for. your body, then what it does for your body. We see it at lunchtime. They talk about what they eat and why they need to eat it; why it is important to eat it, so what ‘is great.
“A lot of the students that we have now, their parents were actually students who came to school here when I was a teacher here, so they remember micro-society and what it was and what it was like. the way it helped them, ”Galindo added.
Parents said the Magnet program helped them because they knew how to write checks, deposit money and balance their check books.
They also knew how to count money and give change because they had worked in companies at the school.
“What’s great about the micro-society is the students who are in our community and the after-school career classes, they get paid to work, so they get Zavala money. They get paid and have to go to Zavala Bank and cash their check. They have to pay bills because they have to repay the loan for the business loan they received.
“We will also have a bank where students can learn banking skills, so that helps with math and reading, science, social studies; all.”
And the students don’t even know it.
“… They’re just having fun and it’s amazing what our pre-kids are up to. They are so creative and they have so many great ideas, ”said Galindo.
She added that Kindergarten to Grade 1 are the classes from which they teach lifelong learning and social skills they need to know.
“They will know how to interview for a job. They will know how to communicate with members of the community, then with their peers. These are all skills that we all need to know and learn, ”she added.
A Magnet campus offers additional enrichment courses.
“During the Magnet period, which is usually at the end of the day, students who have enrolled in the Magnet program receive this extra enrichment, so we have an extra hour at the end of the day,” said Galindo.
She added that what’s good about Zavala is that he has a prime teacher, Huertas, who is in second grade.
“She offers these classes throughout the day. Everyone experiences it and then the students after school get a little bit more of what she’s teaching now, ”said Galindo.
She would like more students from the neighborhood to stay to enrich themselves as they have done in the past.
“To be successful, we need to be able to invite all of our students, or the majority of them, to stay,” she added.
Galindo said the school is also keen to involve other campuses and teachers in projects such as planting a garden and having an art teacher in Bowie help Zavala students with their art projects.
The University of Texas Permian Basin softball team also reads to students.
“We’re the best kept secret in town, I guess you could say. We are a small campus. We have 400 students and we have a lot of big things going on and it’s time for everyone to know all the big things going on on our campus, ”added Galindo.
She said the school has also received another grant that will allow them to publish a monthly newspaper and have pen pals at Travis Elementary.
“We’re also going to have a post office and they’re going to have to write a letter. I spoke to Miss (Amy) Russell (principal) at Travis and we want to make pen pals. We write letters to older kids, then they write letters back, then our… postmen will go deliver the mail, ”Galindo said.
“We’re starting small, but we’re going to make it huge,” she added.