Upon return from fall break, numerous Bonita Vista High students found themselves in classes with a brand new teacher. Due to an unexpected increase in enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year, the school found itself short of staff. In response, Principal Roman Del Rosario, E.d.D., and his administration hired four new teachers: two in the science department and two in the English department.
The new English teachers are Sage Ainsworth and Dennis Perez. Perez teaches English 9, English 10 accelerated and English 11 while Ainsworth teaches English 9 coteach, English 9, English 10 and English 10 accelerated. The new science teachers are Priscilla Soto and Kaylynn Einfalt, who both teach regular and accelerated Biology. Three of them have been hired full time, while Einfalt works as an intern teacher, only teaching three periods, while she completes her masters program at University of California San Diego.
“At the beginning of the year, we recognized a serious need for several new positions for teachers. We found that our enrollment had surprisingly increased over summer and we had a number of classes that were given to teachers as a ‘one sixth,’ meaning that a teacher is teaching one course beyond their assignment. In any given department, if we find 5 teachers assigned an extra course, we have to post a position for a new teacher,” English department chair Kalie Betts said.
The hiring process took several weeks to be completed, explaining the delay in the start of these new teachers around campus. According to Soto, after applying for the position through the district in September, her and the other potential new hires were interviewed separately by a panel. The panel included figures on campus ranging from the Principal to members of the department the new hire was applying to.
“It took Dr. Del Rosario awhile to find the quality instructors he wanted. He is very big on going out to the local universities and finding interns and people that are passionate about teaching. That was a big part of his process, he is very thoughtful,” Assistant Principal Jennifer Barker-Heinz said.
The first official week of teaching for the new hires was the week of Oct. 4th. All of their current classes were previously taught by other teachers due to their entrance into the school mid semester
“It was interesting to come in mid-semester. The students did not have a routine yet, so I had to implement one right away. They are just starting to get a hang of it and now they’re doing really well. Transitions are difficult and I knew it coming in, but the students have been great. Everyone here at Bonita seems to care so passionately about doing well, so that has also made my transition as a new teacher easier,” Soto said.
However, not all the problems of the increased enrollment were solved by the hiring of these four teachers. Due to a lack of facilities around campus, all four lack a set classroom to teach out of. Instead, they travel around to different teachers’ classrooms throughout the day, borrowing the room for a period or more.
“There are simply not enough science classrooms to accommodate the amount of students present. The administration is working on some kind of solution, but as far as I know I will be without a classroom all semester. That may change if rearrangements are made next semester, but it’s all up in the air right now,” Soto said.
As a result of the lack of facilities, these new teachers have begun working out of other teachers’ classrooms during the owner’s prep period. For example, Perez teaches his English 10 accelerated classes out of Betts’ room during first and second period.
“With any teacher it is a little awkward to share a classroom, but Mr. Perez has been really great about respecting my space. He always keeps my room clean. The hardest part is that during your prep period, you’re preparing for other classes. Teachers are used to being isolated in the classroom. I am sure that the traveling teachers aren’t accustomed to coming in and knowing another teacher is going to be there watching,” Betts said.
A few of the new teachers cite that there have been some positives to their position as traveling teachers. For example, Soto has run into numerous technical problems that have been solved by her reaching out to the other teacher in the room.
“It would be great to have my own classroom, but it has been beneficial to work with other teachers in their own classroom. There are positive and negatives. I have found that a lot of new teachers like myself who have their own classrooms run into problems and don’t know what to do, while I have a bunch of support from other teachers around me,” Soto said.
According to Betts, the administration and the chairs of each department worked cooperatively together to create a schedule that minimizes the amount of traveling for the day for each teacher. While there may be some outliers in their schedule, the majority are in the same relative area.
“I travel between 504 and 503 for my classes. It is a struggle to not have your own classroom. Traveling between the two classes with only a bag can lead to a variety of problems. If I leave something in the other classroom, it is a pain to leave my class to go get it,” Einfalt said.
Overall, the addition of the new teachers has alleviated the issues of the increased enrollment at school. The administration is waiting until the following year to decide whether or not new facilities will be needed to accommodate the increase in students, according to Betts.
“Getting to learn the staff here has been fascinating and exciting. I am passionate about my teaching and education in general. I want to push kids as far as possible. Thanks to the help of both staff and students, I found making BVH home easier than expected,” Perez said.