When my husband and I first explored Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s dual language program, we were met with an outpouring of advice from multiple people who said our first order of business should be to request a specific pre-K teacher – Dora Gallardo.
Four years later, Ms. Gallardo has taught three of our children, Jahleela Rubio, during the 2015-16 school year; Alexandria Rubio, 2016-17; and Julian Rubio, 2018-19.
Julian is the youngest of my five children, so when school let out Friday it marked a bittersweet milestone – the last day of his first year of school, and our last day ever with Ms. Gallardo.
Ms. Gallardo has more than 30 years of teaching experience, all with UCISD. She began instruction in the dual language program in 2014. Spanish is her native language.
Over the past four years I have witnessed first-hand her interactions with students. She greets them each morning with “buenos dias” and, in turn, they share stories of weekend adventures, seek her approval of a particularly special outfit or shoe choice, or ask what is on the menu for breakfast.
Every child is unique, and Ms. Gallardo has a special way of catering to the individual needs of her students.
Jahleela, now 8, is extremely shy and hesitant to ask questions. She doesn’t come out of her shell until the second semester when she generally excels academically. Ms. Gallardo was always patient with her.
Alexandria, 7, is competitive and eager to learn. If she isn’t engaged, she easily becomes bored with the curriculum. Ms. Gallardo challenged her.
Julian, 5, is a fast learner but is easily distracted. She has guided him this past year, always bringing him back to task when he loses focus.
It takes a big heart to shape little minds, and my family is grateful for the hard work she put in to lay the foundation for my children’s academic careers.
There are 313 teachers employed by UCISD and entrusted with the care of of 4,214 students. These men and women spend more than 30 hours a week with the people we love most, providing knowledge, affection, understanding. We thank you.
Kimberly Rubio is assistant editor of the Uvalde Leader-News.
(The column does not continue beyond this line.)