Educator of the week

Silvia Ibarra 
Mendez High School

Los Angeles Unified School District
 Los Angeles, CA

Ms. Silvia Ibarra is a passionate teacher committed to providing her students with every opportunity possible. Born in Mazatlan, Mexico, Silvia immigrated to the United States as a young child. Growing up in Los Angeles, CA as a female and immigrant, Silvia faced a particular set of challenges. However, she never let obstacles stand in her way of achieving the American Dream. She was determined to gain as much knowledge as possible and ultimately share her knowledge with students from her community. Silvia Ibarra graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and is currently pursuing a Masters in Administration from California State University, Northridge. She has been a teacher for the past 12 years, having taught at Roosevelt High School and currently at Mendez High School. Both schools nestled in her own community of Boyle Heights.

Like many great educators, her inspiration derived from her own teachers. In particular, her high school history teacher, Mr. Rodriguez gave Silvia the opportunity to participate in science and history fairs at local universities. Mr. Rodriguez helped Silvia see her full potential, motivated her to pursue higher education and sparked her interest in science and history. Currently, Silvia teaches expository composition and history. Inspired by the world of reading and writing, Ms. Ibarra brings unique style to her classroom, incorporating a variety of teaching methods to help her students grasp material, create personal connections to their lives, and promote individual thinking. For Ms. Ibarra, "growth in writing, becomes an amazing journey."

After attending a STEM program in Long Beach, Silvia knew she wanted to incorporate STEM in her classroom curriculum. Students were fully engaged with the activity and enjoyed learning about STEM careers. Silvia wanted to offer that same experience and opportunity to her own students and community. "Many students think STEM and they become frightened, but after taking part in STEM activities, many have chosen a STEM path." This year, Silvia’s STEM goals are for her students to participate in STEM based activities, fully understand the potential of STEM as a future career, and host Mendez's first Science Fair.

Ms. Ibarra joined the Mendez family since the school opened its doors in 2009. She feels privileged to have been part of the opening, working with other educators and school administrators to establish the schools positive climate and culture. Mendez has developed a great relationship with both parents and community members. A small school with huge heart provides Ms. Ibarra the platform to be able to connect with students and help faculty create a warm learning environment. Aside from her work inside the classroom, Ms. Ibarra also serves as the schools Cheer Coach and Co-STEM Club teacher. For the past 4 years, Mendez High School has won the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS), School of the Year Award, no doubt in part to the hard work of great educators like Silvia Ibarra. For Silvia, "if she can reach one student, then she has done what she has set out to do."

During her spare time, Silvia enjoys traveling and reading, especially her favorite novel, The Scarlett Letter.

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