Job Title: Bilingual Teaching Fellow

Company: Highline Public Schools

I didn’t know it at the time, but my experience ajonathan-ruizs a Team Read reading coach at the age of 16 would be one that would greatly influence my professional trajectory in my adult years. In 2000, during my junior year of high school,  I applied and was hired for a position with Team Read working with 2nd and 3rd grade students at Concord Elementary. As I began to work with my students on a weekly basis, I soon realized that our  literacy sessions were beginning to have an additional positive impact on their literacy performance. My students, whom did not enjoy reading when we started, began to develop an interest for reading two months into our sessions. Witnessing their progress and being present for their aha moments was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It was then that I decided that I wanted to go into education for my professional future.

In my early twenties, I returned to working with elementary school age students as a bilingual paraprofessional at Bailey Gatzert Elementary.  I was happy to learn that the Team Read program was being offered after school for Bailey Gatzert’s 2nd and 3rd graders.  I remember encouraging many of the 2nd and 3rd grade students I worked with to sign up to participate in this great program. Many of them did and increased their reading levels, not to mention that they built great relationships with high school students they would look up to.

After seven years, I applied  and was hired for a position with Seattle University’s Center for Community Engagement as Bailey Gatzert’s Success Coordinator. Through this position, I was able to further support Bailey Gatzert students by coordinating after school programming across all grade levels, and provide support to our partner Team Read site staff and high school reading coaches. Team Read was an essential partner and program offered to our 2nd and 3rd grade students. I was also mesmerized by the fact that many of the Team Read  reading coaches, whom had been Bailey Gatzert alumni and participants of Team Read in their 2nd and 3rd grade years, had returned to support students at their elementary alma mater in a program they were very familiar with.  This is the beauty of the Team Read program.

Currently, I hold a position as a Bilingual Teaching Fellow with Highline Public Schools, and through a partnership with Western Washington University, I’m on my way to earning my teaching certification. I can thank the Team Read program for pointing me in the right direction.  I’m also very excited to learn about Team Read’s expansion into Highline Public Schools, and once I am done with my program, I look forward to supporting Team Read in coming to my future school.