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From Custodian to Classroom Aide
09/07/2018


Silvia Miranda-Villegas helps students Kendallyn Saucedo (left) and Andrew Rodriguez learn their shapes as she works as an instructional aide in Jennifer Owens’ classroom at Carver Elementary.

Photo by Carrie Pryor-Newman

 

Silvia Miranda-Villegas helps students Kendallyn Saucedo (left) and Andrew Rodriguez learn their shapes as she works as an instructional aide in Jennifer Owens’ classroom at Carver Elementary.

 

From Custodian to Classroom Aide

 

By: Susan Passmore

 

 

Silvia Miranda-Villegas knew she could help students in the classroom at Carver Elementary, where she worked as a custodian, but she also knew she had to prove herself first.

 

“She came to me last fall and wanted to know if she got her No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Certificate (required of instructional aides) if I would consider letting her work with students in a classroom. I think it took a lot for her to get the courage to say something to me about it. She’s super nice and hardworking, so I told her to get it first and then come back,” said Bart Cobb, Carver principal.

 

Miranda-Villegas, who had stayed home with her children, Kimberly, a 2011 Goose Creek Memorial High School graduate and an Army veteran, and Christopher, a 2015 GCM graduate, both students at the University of St. Thomas, had just started working at Carver the year before. With support from her children and her husband Fredy, she decided to take the NCLB class at San Jacinto College, and she passed with flying colors.

 

“It had been so long since I’d been in high school, I wanted to take the class to refresh my brain before taking the test. My family was so proud of me,” Miranda-Villegas said.

 

Cobb offered Miranda-Villegas a substitute position in a classroom, which meant she would have to give up her custodial position, but he told her it wasn’t guaranteed to be a permanent position. She chose to take the opportunity, and by the last two weeks of the school year, she had worked herself into a position in the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) class.

 

“We asked for her,” said Jennifer Owens, PPCD teacher. “She’s amazing! She’s very patient, even with the most challenging students, and she’s able to keep that calm, low tone of voice with them.”

 

Miranda-Villegas could not be happier in her new role.

 

“At Carver, everyone is so nice. It’s a great place to work, and we’re like a family. I knew when I got here that this was ‘my place,’” she said.

 

Miranda-Villegas still likes to keep things clean in the classroom, but she’s pleased that she is now able to make a difference as an instructional aide.

 

“I see the needs of the little ones, and I love them and want to be someone they can trust. I want them to feel secure around me. There’s so much to teach them – colors, numbers, shapes, and even to use scissors,” she said.

 

Cobb feels that the positive classroom climate in the PPCD class helps the students succeed.

 

“They have the happiest team, and the three of them – Miranda Villegas, Owens and Sharon Robinson, another instructional aide – work like a well-oiled machine. They are three of the most caring individuals,” Cobb said.

 

Miranda-Villegas still plans to go back to school to improve her English skills, but for now, she is thankful to have fulfilled her goal of finding a way to further contribute to the success of her students at “her place.”


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