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New Proyecto Teacher is ready for action

Suanne Kauffman brings new ideas and a big smile to Proyecto Saber

Fiona Huse, Staff Reporter
Originally published October 16, 2014

Avary LenzNew Proyecto teacher helps Junior David Young

Avary Lenz

New Proyecto teacher helps Junior David Young

This year, teacher Suanne Kauffman has begun teaching Proyecto Saber, an in-school program that helps students get through high school and into college. Having gained her masters degree in social work in 2009, Kauffman was drawn to the prospect of working with students in a classroom setting, with an extra dose of social service on the side.

The classes are taught in both English and Spanish, depending on students’ needs. Proyecto’s mission statement is: “To support each other to meet our goals through high school and into college and careers.”

The program is open to all students but was originally created to aid struggling Latino students in a predominantly white community.

Kauffman will assist students in finding resources, scholarships and writing college applications, as well as educating students on vibrant Latino cultural heritage. This includes projects on individual Latino cultures as well as celebrations of holidays, like Dia de Los Muertos, a popular celebration that is centered on celebrating and remembering family members and friends that have died.

The excited new teacher plans to add to their agenda. In order to help students picture themselves in careers, she feels like real life experience is necessary.

“I want to start working more on internships and job shadows and mentorships in the community,” Kauffman explained.

Students who have families that have lived in this community for a while will generally have more community ties than recent migrants to the area. “I want to try to build connections for the students who are maybe not so connected through their families” said Kauffman.

Adding to the idea of providing students with real life experience, Kauffman is looking into including more field trips into the Proyecto plan.

Unfortunately she is finding difficulty in balancing the educational values of field trips with the value of what they would be learning in the classes that they would not be able to attend.

“I have to pick and choose wisely,” Kauffman said.

Last year, the program was without a longterm teacher and retired teacher Norha Giraldo had stepped in. Now students are enjoying a new year with their new teacher.

“She’s really welcoming and makes us feel like we belong,” said senior Ariana Acosta, a long time Proyecto student.

Previously, Kauffman has done work with the organization English Language Learners, a program that helps students that have English as a first language, and had taught language arts and social studies at Whitman Middle School.

But this year, she’s excited to “Do more than teach a subject, but to help students get through high school and into college.”


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New Proyecto Teacher is ready for action