#MNPSVoices: Priscilla Serrano, First Grade Teacher
Priscilla Serrano, a first grade teacher at Paragon Mills Elementary School, will always remember how proud her parents were when she graduated from college—and high school—because they had only made it to the early grades of middle and elementary school due to their circumstances in Mexico. Unlike her parents, Serrano was given the chance to attend Aquinas College—an opportunity for which she is forever thankful. “Education changes your life, it changes families,” Serrano said. “It changes the entire lifestyle of a generation.”
That is one of the reasons Serrano decided to become a teacher—after seeing the effects of education as a first-generation Mexican-American. At an early age, she was also inspired by teachers when she attended Metro Schools. Those teachers connected curriculum across all subjects and rewarded students’ hard work with celebrations. She mimicked these educators, even as a child, by being a homework helper for her younger family members.
Recently, Serrano was honored as an MNPS Out-of-the-Box Award winner for the month of October. And although she has only been teaching for approximately 10 weeks, in addition to her award, Serrano has run into some other unexpected surprises.
“Everything that comes out of these kids is good,” Serrano said of her students’ innocent character.
Her students’ reflect the diversity of Paragon Mills Elementary School’s entire student body, in which more than 30 languages are spoken. Serrano said non-English speaking students do well at generally understanding lessons but struggle with vocabulary, and the extra time with vocabulary is beneficial to all students when grasping literacy. She said she finds class-wide success when spending extra time explaining complex words.
When students look back on their year with Serrano, they will remember first grade as the time when they mastered the art of reading.
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