Saturday, August 15, 2009

Early 1990's: The Staff and BTSA

Alvarado was a k-4 school with about 400 students. Julia Strong-Yoho was the principal and Tess Melendez was the assistant principal. Tess was in the process of getting her doctorate, so after two years at AE she left to go to a principalship in another district. In 1993 Barbara Debarger replaced her as the new AP. Marge Slakey was the Resource Specialist. Bernadette Muhlestein was the Science Specialist. Susan Fivelstad was the Reading Specialist. Sharon Chambers was the Media Specialist. Mark Simmons was the P.E. teacher. Laurel Tanner was the music teacher. Barbara Murkland was the school psychologist. Bernadette Hawkins and Constance Reed were special education teachers. Constance was also a footbag or hacky sack champion. She would demonstrate her skills and try to teach the students how to do it. The students loved it. Sally Kaneko, a first grade teacher, was our expert on Early Childhood Development. She and partner, Bee Legaspi Medders, who joined her in 1991, went to Marin county for training.

There are two photos for some of the 1990's because we had a huge staff which included all the support staff such as aides, the school secretary, and custodian. In later years the classified staff members were not included in the photographs. Lenore Sanchez remained as the school secretary. Barbara Finnigan was a clerk III. Manual Perez was the long time school custodian. Grace Paniaquia worked part time in the health room.

BTSA stands for Beginning Teachers Support Association. BTSA has been instrumental in bringing in many great new teachers into Alvarado and the New Haven School District. These teachers student teach in our schools and learn from master teachers. Cathleen Hampton has been an active leader in BTSA since the inception and a long time master teacher. As of 2011 Mrs Hampton remains as the BTSA coordinator. According to Ms. Hampton, the first year of BTSA was 1993. It evolved out of the California New Teacher Project which Annette Iwamoto and Virginia Swihart (Lynne's Thomson's mom) were instrumental in developing it at the state level. All of it came from the fact that teachers were leaving the profession very quickly because of lack of support. The statistics were 50% left within the first 5 years. New Haven was one of the first BTSA projects in the state (I think there were only 10), so we were an original! For the next 20 years the BTSA program provided training after school for all new teachers in the district. This was a required training and very extensive which also involved some classroom visits by the project coordinator.

1992-1993 Staff
Julia Strong-Yoho Principal
Barbara Debarger Assistant Principal
Click on picture to enlarge.

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