In our April issue you will find interviews with Ms. Valcourt and with the Anti Gang Club run by Ms. Hinson. We also wanted to do something special for our last month with Mr. Riley before he retires and so we asked students what they will remember about Mr. Riley. Also, we have included a comic by Franciso. We hope you enjoy this issue!
Donovan, Mitch, Daisy, Rubi, Francisco, Yessenia, Caleb, Yuna, and Angelina
By Yuna, Angelina, and with help by Rubi
We sat down with Ms. Valcourt to find out what it is like to be a math coach here and to learn more about her life outside of school. This is what we discovered from our interview!
Do you like teaching at South Grade?
I love to teach here because of the students. They are ready to learn. They are so genuine.
How long have you been teaching?
For some time now. I always wanted to be a teacher. I was a 3rd grade math teacher before I was a math coach.
Do you like it when kids improve their grades?
I feel inspired. They encourage me. Their success is my success.
How do you feel when you teach kids?
I feel like a kid. It is fun. Different side, I can be myself. Going through the process of learning with them is exciting.
How many family members do you have?
I have a lot of family! Too many to name.
Do you have any pets?
I don’t have animals and I am not an animal person, I did have a goldfish once for about five minutes. I put it from the bag into a clean peanut butter jar as a fish bowl. It didn’t work.
Where did you go to school?
I went to school in the Bahamas before moving to Miami and then the University of North Florida. I am getting my Doctoral from Lynn University. I finish in one month!
How did you get inspired to be a teacher?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I like to explain and break down problems. I’ve kept a journal since elementary school and I went back and read it. I found out that even then I wanted to be a teacher. I had forgotten that I had wanted to be a teacher even then.
Have you ever traveled?
Yes! I want to travel to Paris and Italy. Over spring break I went up to the East Coast and Pennsylvania. I was able to see new snow for the first time. We played in it and even ate it! I have also traveled to Haiti which was sad.
What is your favorite subject?
I don’t have a favorite subject but I love to learn. I love to read books. When I was growing up we didn’t have a lot of money so we went to the library and I would stock up. The library was my escape. My imagination would take me on travels. Now I like to read spiritual books and things that help schools improve.
Where do you go shopping?
I love to shop online. I prefer new things that are different. I don’t make my own clothes.
Who do you look up to?
I look up to my sister because she is faithful and loyal. She is very driven and is a doctor. I also look up to people who make a difference in the community and in students. People who are passionate about what they believe in.
What is your favorite sport and team?
My favorite sport is basketball and I love the Miami Heat.
What is your favorite food?
I love food! I cook my food from scratch. I like Southern food and Caribbean food. Homemade food is better!
by Caleb, Mitch, Donovan, Francisco and with help from Mariella
We met with a few students in the club and also were able to ask the sponsor, Ms. Hinson, a few questions about the club, the building of their lego race cars, and their final trip to Legoland.
What did you learn in the program?
We learned not to be a bully.
What did you like the best about the program?
We got to build lego cars and go to Legoland and hang out with the police officers.
Did you have fun on the trip?
Yes! The rides were fun but some were scary! Our favorite ride was the wood roller coaster.
Did you want to come back from the trip?
No! It was fun! We even liked the bus ride!
Ms. Hinson, who picked the students to be in the program?
Why did you start the program here at South Grade?
I had some fourth grade students who wanted to build self-propelled lego cars.I bought them a motor to install in a car they had built. They watched and re-watched YouTube videos. They read and re-read the instructions. They left school that year with their dream unfulfilled. I went to PBSO that summer and asked for help. They said, “Ms. Hinson, we’ll make it happen.” That fall they arrived with with lego kits for every student in their class and came every Wednesday to work together to construct their cars. It was their idea to celebrate their time together with a trip to Legoland.
Do you enjoy going on the trip to Legoland with the students?
Sure!! It is fun watching some kids on their first roller coaster ride, screaming their heads off.
Do you learn something in the program, too?
Yes, Kiesha Edge came from the Anti-Defamation League, and gave us a presentation about anti-bullying. She was very informative and entertaining. I also learn how talented the students are at constructing a car with a zillion pieces! I learn more about students when I do exit interviews for the video I make for the end of the program. I have learned firsthand how amazingly kind our police officers are.
What did the hamburger name it’s baby? Patty
What did the duck say when he bought lipstick? Put it on my bill
Why did the banana go to the doctor? Because it was not peeling well
Why was the math book sad? Because it had too many problems
What time does a duck wake up on Easter? At the quack of dawn
“He helps stop bullies.” Delvin, 2nd Grade
"Mr. Riley wants to keep us safe.” Ervin, 2nd Grade
"He’s the best Principal ever!” Wally, 5th Grade (said with a big smile!!! Always!!!!)
“He’s been our Principal for a long time!” Daniel, 4th Grade
“To me, Mr. Riley was a superhero!” Araceli, 5th Grade
“He was a good Principal.” Jeremias, 5th Grade
“He’s kind and he’s helpful.” Ady, 5th Grade
“When he ate lunch in my classroom!.” Jerry, 3rd Grade
“He was a good Principal.” Caleb, 5th Grade
“He’s a nice person to have around.” Naria, 4th Grade
“He watched over the school.” Lourana, 2nd Grade
“About when he leaves I will miss him too much.” Debora, Kindergarten
“We drawed a heart for Mr. Riley.” Manuel, Kindergarten
“The good leader he is.” David, 4th Grade
“He taught us about the bad and the good.” Joan, 3rd Grade
“His spiky hair.” Demario, 4th Grade
“He’s good and nice.” David, 5th Grade
“He’s happy all of the time.” Roger, 5th Grade
“He helped us.” Ruth, 2nd Grade
“He’s nice.” Christian, 4th Grade
“He’s helpful.” Curbin, 3rd Grade