Children First: Amazing Educators

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Monday, October 4, 2021
Children First: Amazing Educators
Children First - 10/03/21

Let's celebrate our local educators! ABC30 is dedicating a special week in honor of Central California teachers.

ABC30 Anchors Warren Armstrong and Graciela Moreno host a half-hour special, Children First: Amazing Educators, Sunday, October 3, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. on ABC30. Viewers can stream on ABC30's Connected TV Apps for Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV.

The special includes educators going above and beyond to help students in Central California. The ABC30 team traveled to six different schools to see these educators in action.

Among the stories featured:

Thomas Elementary

Teaching runs in Tamika Tatum's blood...several of her family members were teachers. She's a first-grade teacher at Thomas Elementary in Fresno. She was one of the first teachers in African American Academic Acceleration and is trying to close achievement gaps among African American students.

FULL STORY: Fresno Unified teacher taking learning to the next level

Coalinga High School

Crystal Aguilar is a Special Education Teacher for 9-12th grades and some 18 to 22-year-olds at Coalinga-Huron Unified School District. She taught full classes all day live and in-person throughout the pandemic, and really worked hard to give her students an excellent educational and social experience. She has a bubbly personality and she loves her students and her job.

FULL STORY: Children First: Fresno County teacher found passion for teaching at young age

Firebaugh High School

80% of students in Firebaugh are involved in the school's Ag program. We follow a few members of the FFA as they compete in the Round Robin small schools competition at Madera District Fair. Mr. Gene Leib talks about his passion for FFA (he specializes in floral design and leadership) and the skills students are learning when they participate in ag including teamwork, compassion and time management.

FULL STORY: Children First: Firebaugh High School's FFA program

Castle Rock Elementary

Tulare County has the highest illiteracy rate in California. Students who don't read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely than proficient readers to leave high school without a diploma.

Sophia Mejia-Taylor known as Miss Sophia is a librarian trying to do something about that! During the pandemic when kids were remote learning, Miss Sophia at Castle Rock Elementary in Woodlake delivered books to kids on her bike. She named the electric bike the Nimbus 2000 after Harry Potter's first broom.

She helped revamp the Library/STEAM Center and has little helpers known as the Library Squad.

One of her students won a recycling competition by creating a coronavirus piñata with a crown on it. Corona means crown in Spanish.

FULL STORY: Children First: South Valley librarian working to increase literacy rates

John J. Cairns Alternative Education

Lana Russo Jimenez is a math teacher who once failed math. She has the report card in her class to show students, one bad grade doesn't define them. She teaches different math classes in Lindsay's alternative ed sites including John J Cairns. Students are called learners and teachers are called Learning Facilitators.

She makes math come alive for learners who typically struggle with the subject. The school connects learners with internships at local businesses and have landed jobs upon graduation.

FULL STORY: Children First: Lindsay teacher giving students real-world lessons

Hoover Middle School

Coding and robots are her specialties. Rebecca Currin is a Technology teacher at Hoover Middle School within Merced City School District. Her work is inspiring students to enter the tech field and leading to partnerships in higher education.

ABC30 has long been dedicated to covering the important challenges and opportunities among youth in Central California. Children First is a year-round effort by KFSN. The award-winning program shows how the average person can make a difference in a child's life and highlights local organizations working with children. The Children First campaign includes half-hour programs like "Amazing Educators," public service announcements and special stories that air on Action News.

ABC30 thanks its partners below for putting Children First in the Central Valley.