Bryan, College Station ISD educators look back on unique school year

Both districts’ last day of school was just before the holiday weekend
Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 2:29 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 5:26 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Bryan and College Station ISDs wrapped up the school year last week, but some teachers returned to their schools on Tuesday to pack up their belongings for the summer.

Although it was a year that started with many unknowns, Johnson Elementary School teacher, Laura Delarosa says they made it to the end.

“Coming in I definitely was a little bit nervous. We were kind of in uncharted waters, no one’s ever done this before,” said Delarosa. “It was a go-with-the-flow kind of thing and I’m a planner, but I think at the end of the day it made us all stronger educators. I know after this year I can definitely survive it all.”

COVID-19 came with a plethora of changes, not the least of which was the transition to virtual learning.

“At first I was trying to decide, do I save a block of time for my online learners? Do I do it all at the same time? I ended up doing it simultaneously and it worked beautifully,” said Delarosa.

Jane Long Intermediate teacher, James Irick says in addition to the online component, classroom adjustments were also made.

“Keeping dividers in between everyone, of course spreading out, so that made seating charts all that more important and keeping everyone spread out and safe,” said Irick “The learning felt very similar to what was happening in the past.”

Despite things looking and feeling a little different, both students and staff have things to be proud of.

“My students really accomplished a whole lot. They worked really hard in the last six weeks to get ready for their STARR tests and they really shined, they did a lot of great work,” said Irick. “Having to rely on the technology so much I really learned how to work with the programs to give the kids a more immersive experience. I think it was a good year of learning for both of us.”

Southwood Valley Elementary Principal Ali DeLuna says teachers are a big reason behind the successful school year.

“We took a moment to really celebrate our teachers because they have been in the trenches all school year. They have adapted and they have really been there for our kids to make sure they were safe, loved, and had a normal school year,” said DeLuna

DeLuna says together they grow every year as staff and students but this year it was even more apparent.

“They pushed themselves to learn and grow and become better teachers. Really it was a normal school year for us and we became a better staff just like we always would,” said DeLuna.

Delarosa says she’s thankful this school year had a much happier ending than last year’s abrupt changes.

“I’m grateful that my children got to have their promotion ceremony this year. I’m grateful that I got to say goodbye to them this year, you know when they leave me they go on to intermediate school for bigger and better things and I’m grateful for all of those who worked behind the scenes to make this year happen for us,” said Delarosa.

Despite the district, the school, or the grade level everyone can agree they’re excited for a more “normal” 2021-2022 school year.

“Just greeting my students without a mask, seeing that I’m smiling and that I’m happy that they’re back,” said Delarosa.

“I’m really looking forward to a more normal school year. I missed a lot of the hands-on activities that the kids love so much so I’m hoping to do more of that,” said Irick.

“To be able to see each other’s smiles, reactions, and faces because that is one thing we’ve missed out on this year,” said DeLuna.

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