A Parent Writes Winston Brooks on the Last Day of School

After the 5th grade graduation ceremony at Zia Elementary School, a parent walked up to my wife MaryAnn and said, "This is for you."  Here is what she gave her.



May 2011

Mr. Winston Brooks
Albuquerque Public Schools

Dear Mr. Brooks,

As superintendent of APS, I'm sure you would like to know what a treasure Zia Elementary School is to our community.  The faculty and staff of Zia are dedicated and remarkable in their commitment to children.

Our son J**** was 3 lbs 7 oz at birth.  He was a failure to thrive baby and underwent human growth hormone therapy in the first years of life.  At the age of three the director of the daycare he attended told us about the APS program Childfind.  J**** was tested and found to have several developmental delays.  He started the Childfind program at Zia Elementary the following school year when he was four.

Childfind paperwork asked what we as parents would like to see accomplished for our son.  At the time J**** had difficulties with making sentences, word retrieval, and word recognition.  We stated that we wanted J**** to be able to tell us a story.  Well, that objective has certainly been met and exceeded.

J**** is graduating from fifth grade this May 2011.  He has been in the special education department and has received the finest instruction.  From day one, his teachers, speech pathologist, occupational therapist and the head of special-ed at Zia, Ms. Kathy Lopez, have all worked as a team to uncover and bring insight into how J**** learns.  They have given J**** his voice and he is quite the storyteller.

Mr. Bill Davis was J****'s kindergarten and first grade teacher. Ms. Melanie Costanzo was his second/third grade teacher.  Ms. MaryAnn White and her EA Mr. Kevin Hughes have been with J**** for fourth and fifth grades.  Each of these exceptional educators performs miracles in the lives of the children they serve.  I have personally witnessed their patience and marveled at their abilities to connect with special needs children.  Our family will never forget these gracious and gifted teachers that brought learning to our son.

J****'s self confidence grew by leaps and bounds when he began participating in extra-curricular activities offered by Zia Elementary and through the Family Focus Center.  He took Karate, music, Spanish and many other classes.

Mr. Kevin Hughes started a chess club this semester and J**** loved it.  He even won a chess tournament that the chess club attended. 

Ms. Martha McArthur, the computer teacher at Zia, sponsored the Video Club.  Mr. Chuck Jurich a graduate student at UNM volunteers to instruct the students who are chosen to participate.  J**** has participated the past two years.  The students learn all about making movies from script to filming to directing to editing and final production.  The students take the process very seriously.  At the end of the year they are proud to have a screening of all of their films.  

J**** found his niche in video club.  He began to put into practice all of the skills his teachers had been teaching him.  He relished all aspects of production--even script writing.  J**** can tell a story.

The principal at Zia is Mr. Gregg McMann and he has fostered an environment of learning that is mindful of the needs of the population the school serves.  He and the faculty and staff of Zia are invaluable to our community.  Our family will miss all of them, but we will be back to visit.

SIncerely,  (His Parents)

Views: 144

Comment by Adelita on May 31, 2011 at 10:38am
I love this!  This should be sent to Susan Martinez as well!
Comment by cathyray on May 31, 2011 at 11:46am
Comment by Sarah on May 31, 2011 at 3:39pm
Yea for Zia!
Comment by cc on May 31, 2011 at 5:51pm
It is good to be reminded of all the caring, expertise and excellence that survives the budget cuts and all the new duties piled onto teachers. So glad you posted it, JM. Yay Ms. Mary Ann!
Comment by Patrick on May 31, 2011 at 8:33pm
Congratulations to the exceptional staff of Zia Elementary.  I have witnessed, firsthand, the excellent teaching at Zia and I know how dedicated the teachers and staff are to serving students and families.  Mary Ann is a great teacher and deserves lots of praise for her continued commitment to classroom teaching, which I think, is one of the most demanding jobs out there. Great to see to credit where credit is due.
Comment by Immanuel Presbyterian Church on June 1, 2011 at 4:00am

This is a great letter.  There isn't enough recognition of the remarkable commitment and creativity of APS teachers.  Immanuel has been a community site for the Transitions Outcome Program this year serving young adults with special needs ages 18-22.  We've enjoyed the students and have been impressed with the teachers.  Go here to read about some of the creative ways the Transitions Outcome Program engages their students.

Comment by Mary Jane Collins on June 3, 2011 at 1:15pm

My daughter went to Zia. She had a speech impairment which required special education. Now she is in AHS and makes straight As. The teachers at that school do a great job for the students. They should be recognized for all of their hard work with the children.  

Comment by abqmom on June 3, 2011 at 4:26pm

my son was 2 1/2 years old when he started the Childfind program at Petroglyph Elementary and I will be forever thanful to his teachers and therapists for helping him reach his developmental goals! I need to put pen to paper too!



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