Saturday, August 8, 2015

Welcome to the 2015-2016 School Year

Dear AdVENTURE students,

It's hard to believe but it's that time of the year again - the beginning of a new school year. Welcome back!

Although many would say I am biased, having started when AdVENTURE didn't even have a name, this is truly the best place to be. AdVENTURE is a very special community, where academics are strong and experiences are rich. With that said, I am thrilled to begin another year in this place I call home.

For those of you that don't know me, a little bit of background. I was born and raised in Mexico City. After graduating from Universidad La Salle with a degree in Biochemistry specializing in pharmaceuticals, I worked as a pharmaceutical researcher for over 12 years, having a hand in bringing some key pharmaceuticals to your drugstores. I moved to San Jose in 1998, and was a full time mother to my two children for several years. Once they started school, I decided to explore a teaching career, completed the teacher education program at San Jose State University, and began teaching 6th grade in 2008. In 2010, I jumped at the opportunity of becoming a founding teacher at AdVENTURE. Being an AdVENTURE teacher has allowed me to expand my horizons, having had the privilege to teach science, engineering and a video game design elective. Last year I was honored as the STEM teacher of the year, became published curriculum author as a BetterLesson Master Teacher, and also obtained my certification as a Google Educator. Needless to say, it has been an AdVENTURE!

I am super excited to announce a couple of changes to the way we "handle business" in my science classes this year. Your experience in science has been transformed into a game, complete with boss battles, leaderboards and opportunities to craft your own adventures. As we explore the curriculum together you will get a chance to become the concepts, and develop scientific identities. Make sure to visit your grade level website and prepare yourselves for a journey through time and imagination.

Those of you taking my engineering elective will spend the beginning of the year completing engineering design challenges, working together to find the best solutions to problems that affect us all. From avoiding concussions, to saving the world from imminent natural disasters, and even finding ways to feed the world's growing population, we will tackle it all. This class will also be our springboard to STEM competitions. I am challenging you to participate in at least two nationally recognized competitions, and look forward to guiding you through these experiences.

My Globaloria students are not to be forgotten. You may not know it, but this will be the third time that I teach this elective, and have led several teams to victory at the Globeys. I am thrilled to see you explore science concepts in depth as you create new and exciting games.

Before you go, take a moment to explore the AdVENTURE with Mrs. Garcia website, where you will find information about grading, classroom procedures and policies, resources and much more.

I am looking forward to meeting my new students as well as to getting reacquainted with my returning students. I welcome hearing from you. Let's work together to ensure a successful and happy 2015-2016 school year, conducting ourselves in a Respectful, Responsible and Safe manner.

Mariana Garcia Serrato