May 7, 2018
May 7, 2018
More than 140 students, aged 3 to 5, attend our Patterson Park site each year. This site serves a large Hispanic/Latino population and features a fully bilingual Spanish immersion program. Teachers and Family Service Coordinators provide essential support to families as they navigate this major transition in their lives.
Directly across the street from the Head Start site, is beautiful Patterson Park. Children enjoy feeding the ducks and going on nature walks in this historic Baltimore landmark.
Every year teachers, assistant teachers, substitute teachers and family service coordinators spend up to 170 hours in professional development to make sure the young students get a big head start on their education and arrive in kindergarten ready to excel.
Note: St. Vincent de Paul Baltimore operates 42 Head Start classrooms at seven locations across Baltimore. For Teacher Appreciation Week we are highlighting staff and teachers at each location.
Christian Gilliam is the lead teacher at Patterson Park. She’s a Baltimore native who attended Matthew Henson Elementary, Lemmel Middle School, and Carver Vocational Technical High School.
She says, “I wanted to be a teacher when I was a young child. At the age of 21, I volunteered at an elementary school as a teacher’s assistant. Teaching the children was rewarding, and led me to pursue it as a career."
Christian holds degrees in early childhood education and human services, and she earned a certificate for special education. She has been teaching for 23 years, 4 of those at St. Vincent de Paul.
This year, Christian has initiated many extra activities for students, including a visit from an owl, a bullfrog, a corn snake, a turtle, and assorted reptiles from the Marshy Point Nature Center. She also works hard to inspire a love of reading in the students, with field trips to Enoch Pratt Library’s Fairy Tale Ball, and monthly visits from librarians for special reading events.
When Christian is not teaching, she enjoys writing and listening to poetry, drawing, painting, fashion modeling, boxing, and dancing. She loves seafood and music - especially, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and gospel.
Sandra Rodriguez is the family services coordinator at Patterson Park. She’s a Baltimore transplant who is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico - where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puerto Rico
Sandra believes education is an essential instrument that can transform lives. As a teacher at the Patterson Park site, she placed great value in teaching students to ask questions, analyze information, and develop critical thinking skills.
She loved being a teacher but decided to work as a family services coordinator because it gave her the opportunity to work with students and their families. “I can work with the families day by day and help them understand that they have the power to change their lives and create the futures they want. “
Sandra practices yoga and likes following the Ravens.
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