Staff Spotlight: Meet Valerie Reategui, our After School Academy Lead Site Supervisor!

Have you wondered what types of lessons students in our After School Academy (ASA) learn and the people behind the lesson planning?

 

Since May 2020, Valerie Reategui, our Lead Site Supervisor and a Brentwood native, has been creating lesson plans for ASA after graduating from Los Medanos College with an Associate’s degree in Business Accounting. 

Valerie Reategui

 

She didn’t know what she wanted to do after college and changed her career goals multiple times before graduation, but after she got her first experience teaching children with special needs in the Brentwood School District as an Instructional Substitute Aide, she knew where she belonged.

 

But when the pandemic started, Valerie lost her substitute job and became unemployed. So her search began for similar educational opportunities. That is when she came across our Center.

 

“I liked the idea of tutoring kids in elementary school. I really liked that age group because they’re still so open to learning. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out when I started, but as soon as I met my students, I knew it was the right place for me,” Valerie said with a smile. “I’d do anything for them. I made some strong connections with the kids.”

 

Inspired by the lesson planning of her former teachers in the Brentwood School District during her childhood, Valerie develops creative lesson plans with the rest of the ASA team.

 

“A lot of our lessons here are project-based, we try to have a project every class to get the kids interested in learning,” Valerie said. “It’s almost like tricking them into learning. They just think they’re having fun.”

Valerie Reategui

 

The team creates projects that involve history, art and science, including emphasis on historical figures like women and people of color. She believes these are subjects many of the kids aren’t taught in school. 

 

In addition, the children work on projects that are above their grade level, but taught in a way that they are able to understand. Her vision is to teach students to have a growth mindset over just getting great grades.

 

The lessons revolve around developing their social-emotional skills such as building their confidence, understanding their emotions, and being able to manage stress. The instructors assist the students with homework, have mindfulness exercises, and actively engage students in the classes to help them find their voice.

 

“One of my greatest strengths is the student to teacher connection. I feel the students can talk to me and I can talk to my students. I feel like me and the team have created a place that is comfortable for learning and free expression.”

 

Some of the hopes Valerie has for the future of ASA are having more volunteers, instructors, classes, one-on-one opportunities with the students, field trip opportunities, more locations, and longer classes. 

 

Interested in learning more about our After School Academy (ASA). Read more here. Do you want to become an ASA volunteer? Contact Valerie Reategui at valerie@vcrcbrentwoodca.org.

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