Bilingual Brilliance: Navigating ESL Success with Connie Sisneros

Embark on Connie Sisneros’ inspiring journey from monolingual teacher to ESL specialist and bilingual director. Uncover the impact of professional development, Flashlight 360, and high expectations on student success. Dive into her valuable advice for fostering collaborative growth in bilingual and ESL instruction.

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[00:00:00] Justin Hewett: Hey everybody, welcome to the ML chat podcast. We are in for a treat today. Today we get to talk with Connie Sisneros. Connie is the ESL and bilingual director in Temple ISD. Mandy, what a fun conversation we got to have with Connie.

[00:00:21] Mandi Morris: She is such an experienced leader and educator and hearing from all of her experience and all of her insight and her wisdom was a treat.

[00:00:30] Justin Hewett: Yeah, it really is amazing you can just tell how easy some of this is for her I shouldn’t even say easy as much as just like she knows All the moving pieces and parts of what she’s trying to do to make great things happen You know for their emergent bilinguals for the English learners in the temple ISD district.

I loved how much she was talking about community and getting everybody on board. This is not her department. This is about all of the different stakeholders. And it was amazing to me to hear her talk about how she goes to work, getting them involved.

[00:01:06] Mandi Morris: I agree. That was inspirational.

It’s at the core of her vision. It was a part of how she leads her teachers. It was a part of how she. expects and sets an example around teachers inspiring their own students. It was really incredible to hear how it is just at the core of every piece of what she’s doing as a director.

[00:01:31] Justin Hewett: Connie is truly an artist when it comes to leading her multilingual department. It’s been fun to unpack that here and have this conversation.

Okay. Let’s jump into it Connie has been in education for 30 years. She’s been a literacy coach She’s been a classroom teacher both bilingual and monolingual She’s been a reading recovery teacher a bilingual coordinator and right now she serves as the bilingual and esl director At Temple ISD in Texas, she attended Temple College where she earned an associate’s degree and then went on to the University of Mary Hardin Baylor where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In 2008, she graduated from Tarleton University with a master’s in education and I cannot wait for this conversation. Connie is a voracious advocate for students and has been ever since she started in education. Connie, welcome to the ML chat podcast.

[00:02:26] Connie Sisneros: Thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks for the opportunity.

[00:02:29] Justin Hewett: Oh, we are thrilled to spend time with you. Thank you for this opportunity. I want to start out, I want to go back and ask the question, how did you get into education, Connie? Like, how did this become your path? Actually,

[00:02:45] Connie Sisneros: just getting into education in general wasn’t even on my radar.

As a child, I went to school and I’m a child of immigrant parents. And my, the goal for me was to go to high school, graduate and get a job. And when my friends were talking about going to college, I didn’t even get much thought because that’s not something my parents expected for me to do. Dad is the breadwinner of the family and he’s the decision maker, my mom’s the supporter.

Dad said we really can’t afford it. And if you can figure out a way of going. And keep paying your car and doing the things that you’re doing because, everybody was pulling their weight at the time. So I did.

That’s why I went to Temple College. Was able to graduate from there and then move on to University of Mary Hardin Baylor because it was the closest school to my house. So that’s the reason I went there. Not that it’s not a good college. It’s an excellent college. I had a great opportunity there and a good time learning there as well.

But my passion started with I think when I was in elementary school. Thinking about all of the different things that my teachers taught me and all of the different things that I learned, and I always thought it was cool because I had several teachers and they all were talking about the same topic.

And I’m like, how did they do that? We’re talking about this in science and in reading and in social studies. Like, how did they do that? And lo and behold, it’s called planning. So I thought that was cool. And I thought that’s what a great. Team I want to be a part of a team like that And I didn’t know that of course until I got older But I just thought my teachers were just brilliant and I wanted to be brilliant like them.

[00:04:19] Justin Hewett: I love that you are brilliant like them And you are leading a great team in temple

 We are really looking forward to unpacking that a little bit and hearing about your journey and, from when you stepped into that role and to where you are today. I Know you wanted to be a part of a team, you looked at your teachers, but you go to college, how did you decide that, okay, I’m going to study I want to study to be a teacher.

I want to be an educator, right? Like how did you make that decision?

[00:04:46] Connie Sisneros: Honestly, it was either Masters of a Bachelors of Arts or Bachelors of Science and I don’t do science So that was that limited me there at University of Manhattan Baylor and I thought okay So I can do education and i’ve always had a love for children and for caring for kids and teaching kids, as a matter of fact, my sister, Rosemary, always attributes her success.

She’s brilliant. And she attributes her ability or the fact that she started school already basically writing her name and she knew a few words she said, because Connie would come home and she would teach me. And I was like, Oh yeah, I think I did. And I don’t remember doing that. It was just so natural.

And so I think that was one of the reasons that one of the things I look back to. And I think that was, if I can impact my own sibling, then I can do this with the world, right?

[00:05:32] Justin Hewett: That is really cool. My, my oldest daughter, Cosette, is eight years old. And I have two other little girls that Julia and Roxy that are four and two.

And their favorite thing to do is to play class. And cozy’s the teacher and she does class and now juliet when cozy’s at school Juliet will be the teacher for roxy and they’ll play class and they’ll ask us if we want to be Students or something and so that’s really fun to hear mandy. When did you know you wanted to get into education?

[00:05:59] Mandi Morris: I think that Growing up. I didn’t see a lot of women working. So a lot of the women in my life, when you were saying Connie, like the dad was in charge and the mom was support. That was the example that I grew up in as well. And all the women that I knew were at home with their families.

They didn’t have careers outside the home. So it was like you can be a nurse or a teacher until you get married and have kids and then you stay at home. And I actually tried to do nursing and I hate blood. I did it for a year and a half. And I was like, this is not for me. I always had a passion for English learners.

I switched my major in college from nursing to teaching English to speakers of other languages and never looked back. And I, that’s where I focused my career in education and have been very lucky to be able to do that. Connie, how did you find your way into ESL education or bilingual education and where did you start to move in that direction, not just broad

[00:07:05] Connie Sisneros: education?

It started when I was actually a monolingual teacher in this actual district. The people that were in charge of the bilingual program had a totally different, a total different philosophy. And I think that you have to have the same mindset, the same philosophy, the same beliefs in order to jump on and say, this is what I want to do.

And it wasn’t. necessarily a philosophy that I could follow or something I could believe in. And as a matter of fact, they didn’t even know I spoke Spanish until I came to one of the meetings and they’re like, Oh, why aren’t you a bilingual teacher? And I couldn’t tell her because I don’t believe what you’re doing and what you’re doing.

I just said I haven’t had the opportunity. I really didn’t think about it. And once we started having change and administration and different philosophies coming through, then I started getting interested. And then I became a bilingual teacher. Let’s just start, let’s just try this out. Having the training that I had as far as how to teach students because it’s different teaching students that are bilingual than they are monolingual.

They have a different skill set. You have to have a different skill set and learning how to. Reach those students and giving them what they need was so satisfying and to me, it was almost easier because not only are the kids learning Spanish is a phonetic, I could teach them how to read. I had that reading background and was able to move them, leaps and bounds.

And I think that was one of the things that I just became real passionate about. It’s Oh, if I can do this and I can move these students, I can teach other people how to do this. So when opportunity came up, To become a coach. I jumped on it because it wasn’t only a bilingual coach at that time.

It was for the school. Teaching our monolingual teachers, even some of those techniques, because those ESL strategies, they’re just best practices. And so then everybody started using them, and at that time I was part of the Literacy Collaborative. And they all had to sign oaths because it was part of a grant that we had.

And we were basically just teaching best strategies. We were going in there, I was going in there modeling for new teachers. I had specific training days. It was such a structured model that we couldn’t help but grow. And it was just an awesome feeling. It was great to see the teachers grow. It was great to see, even greater to see the kids grow.

[00:09:17] Justin Hewett: And it’s so fun to hear you were just, you got on a mission and you were, and you’re like, I can help everybody do this. Now I’m going to move into this coaching role. And, teaching Rosemary to read was a very helpful and giving you confidence to take on this challenge. It sounds like I want to go back a little bit to when you were making that transition from a monolingual classroom to a bilingual classroom.

It sounds like there was a shift in philosophy or in thinking. That you felt like invited you to the table and invited you to, to decide to take on that new that new, those new responsibilities. What was that shift?

[00:09:54] Connie Sisneros: Honestly, I think the shift came with the curriculum that they had implemented.

It was structured. It was something that we could follow, something we could go by and something that was research based. I think previously we were just hitting, it was a hit and miss curriculum. I was like I’m going to try this and a little bit of that. And let’s just go with that.

That’s how I perceived it. I’m not saying that’s the way it was. Cause I wasn’t in that world, but that’s how it was perceived to me. And you have to want to be a part of something that you like, something that you believe in. And I think that when the new administration came in and brought in structure a new curriculum a new, basically a new team.

It was something that I could actually feel comfortable about and be a part of. Let’s give this a try because this is not something that it’s just because you speak Spanish, you cannot be a bilingual teacher. That’s right.

[00:10:48] Justin Hewett: Although there’s a lot of people that don’t speak Spanish that think if you speak Spanish, you can automatically become a bilingual teacher.

tEll me a little bit about, the shifts that you’ve seen, since coming into the, the ESL world. Now in Texas, we call our English learners emergent bilingual students, right? So we’ve seen that shift. And I think there’s a, the there’s a number of other shifts that you’ve seen through the years.

Maybe talk to that a little bit from what you’ve seen from when you first stepped into, a dual language classroom. Yeah. Through the years till today. What are some of the shifts that you feel like you’ve noticed and seen?

[00:11:23] Connie Sisneros: Fast forwarding to when I became a director, there have been shifts and this is my 10th year in this position and there are shifts and a lot of them are coming straight from the state.

They’re just changes there. Mandates and things like that. But in the district as in general, we have to decide what’s best for kids. And so although the state will guide us and give us guidance, we have to decide as a district, what is it that we want to do? What curriculum are we going to use?

What program are we going to use? And we have to make, decide, is this good for kids? Is this good for our parents and community? Because it’s not just about teaching kids, it’s about having that partnership with the parents and having the partnership with the community. And it’s something that we can all jump on and we can all believe in and we can all work together to move our students forward.

We had a transitional late exit program. And that was working well, honestly. It’s just, it was limiting our kids, though, to stay in the program longer than we really needed them to. At one point we shifted into a dual language two way. That was something that we tried for a little while.

We had a really good start with that. We had good resources, good training, good teachers, good partners. But what happens with the two way is the monolingual kids that were participating, they wouldn’t necessarily always stay in the program. And we were constantly retraining kids and we didn’t want to have a.

application process for dual language, because we feel like all kids should be able to have the same opportunities. So that wasn’t something that really worked in our district. I think that eventually, someday, we will go back to a one way dual language model, but we need to work to that point because right now, we are at an early transitional model.

And that’s working really well. We’ve had to revamp some things. So talking about shifting, we’ve had this year alone we’ve made some great shifts and implementing we created a, what we call an English language development session or section to our For our pre K through second grade classes where they have instruction in English, formal instruction, and it’s research based.

And we, even though it’s something that we came up with in the district, it’s something that is solid. And it’s something that is working. So we go and we monitor what we’ve created. And we adjust. So just because we created it, it doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal. So we go in and we see that, oh, the teachers, they’re not using visuals.

It’s because we didn’t give them any visuals or ideas for visuals. We’ve got new teachers. And so we can’t assume that they’re going to know exactly where to go. We have opportunities or we have places to get things, but they may not know where to go to get those things. So we’re shifting. So now we had a training on where to go to get.

Visuals. It’s not necessarily cards. Cards will take you forever to find what you need. Hey, use technology. We have, everybody has that in their classroom. So things like that. So we’re also shifting to where we’re transitioning kids in a way that what we’re seeing is that the kids are moving into English a lot sooner.

Formal English. It’s not just the BICS anymore. We’re seeing the CALP. We’re seeing that their academic language is shifting because the teachers are shifting. If you set your bar high and you have high expectations for kids, they’re going to meet you where you’re expecting them to go.

And I think That’s one of the things that our kids why we’re seeing our kids accelerate in English is because we’re expecting them to do now, we do have newcomers and with the newcomers, we do we do adjust and we customize our lessons for them. So sometimes even in fourth and fifth grade, if those children that come in that need that Spanish support, we’ll create a, an, a benchmark or an assessment or a unit assessment.

Especially for them because we want to make sure that they’re growing as well. So it’s a lot of moving pieces and a lot of work, but it’s so satisfying because we see our kids making gains.

[00:15:15] Mandi Morris: Connie, I feel like something you touch on is that your program has to be adaptive and it has to be flexible to meet the needs of your students.

But you’ve also talked a lot about structure. I would love to hear you talk some about How do you implement structure into your English language development for students? And if you have any insight about like for other directors listening as well, what does that look like in high school when you have to be highly adaptive and you have newcomers coming in high school because you talked about that formal English instruction in the pre k through two environment when you have students arriving?

In the middle school and high school, how do you balance that being adaptive and having structure to meet the needs of students at that age level?

[00:16:04] Connie Sisneros: nUmber one, to reach those students and at all grade levels, you have to be flexible. You have to be adaptive. And you have to have professional development, some kind of guidance, some kind of structure with teachers so they’ll understand what it is that you want them to accomplish.

You can’t just tell them, okay, you’ve got some newcomers, go and teach them. They need some tools. They need to know how to do this. So we always start with professional development. As a matter of fact, we have some ESL teachers that teach just ESL and a couple of our middle school campuses.

And I pulled the ESL teachers from the middle school and high school at least I don’t know, three or four times a semester, and I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a lot when you’re trying to find coverage and all that kind of stuff. So I created a calendar, just to back up for a second, I created a calendar at the beginning of the year, and in that calendar I have my meetings set already for our ESL teachers, and they can be from 6th grade to 12th grade.

And then I also pull our bilingual teachers a couple of times a year as well. So we have specific training that’s separate from what the whole district is expecting and from the curriculum that we’re using in the district. So this is specifically for our bilingual and ESL teachers. So we do pull these kids the teachers so that we have that specific training.

And every year it’s going to look different. This year has been an anomaly. This year in middle school alone in our newcomer center, we usually always have max about 15 newcomers. This year, we’re up to 36 newcomers, and of those 36 newcomers, we have over 20 of them are in eighth grade. That’s just different.

That’s weird. We’ve never had that before. It’s not even balanced. We can’t even say we’re going to, separate them in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. The majority of them are eighth graders, and think of this. These are newcomers. In eighth grade, the next year, there’ll be a ninth grade where they’re not going to have that opportunity , to grow , in the way they can in the newcomer center.

Now in high school, we do have a newcomer center, but it’s, they’ll just see their teachers, a couple, maybe two or three periods a day. And then they’re off into. The mainstream and that’s hard and to get kids that are in eighth grade that are 13 years old, 14 years old adapted just just into our culture, just into our, the way we even run school in America and the United States it’s different than when they, where they came from.

We have one little girl that went to school in the Dominican Republic and she went third. shift and I said, what’s a third shift? So they have three hour shifts. So they go from eight to 11 or in 12 to three, and then four to six, or I don’t know exactly, but so she went in the evening just for a few hours.

And. That’s considered going to school full time. She completed what they wanted. So do you really think that’s comparable to what we’re expecting here? Absolutely not. So what do we do to help students like that? So we’re having to shift. We’re having to find things that are going to be helpful for her and help grow her because every student counts and we have to do what it takes for every single student.

And although we have an enormous number, to me, it’s an enormous number of students. I know there are districts out there that are way bigger than we are, but they probably also have more people to to help with this kind of thing. I have my team, it consists of myself, my coordinator. I have someone that does some testing for me and then I have a halftime secretary and that’s it.

I do have two bilingual ICs, but they don’t. quote unquote, belong to me, they belong to the campuses and to the curriculum department because they’re helping with curriculum and data and things like that. They have a big job as well. But I do pull them too. And I pull them once a month for about a couple of hours every month.

And And I pull them during a lunch time so I can feed them lunch and talk to them and give them a little bit of training. And this is when we go over lots of either updates, new things that are coming down the pike, or just reviewing some data. And that’s what we do with them.

[00:20:01] Justin Hewett: I love hearing about your team.

That’s fun to hear. I love that question, Mandy, as far as having structure, because you hear that, and then also the ability to adapt to each student, because each student matters so much, right? As you were saying, Connie. It reminded me of the Picasso quote Or at least a quote that’s attributed to Picasso.

I’m not sure if Picasso really said this, but but the quote is, know the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist, right? If you know your data or your research, you know the best practices. Then you can go off script a little bit or you can adjust things for a student if you don’t know them Like the pro then you can’t break them like the artist you can’t you know, you’re not going to be able to You know adapt and meet the needs of your students so connie tell us a little bit we probably should have done this earlier But tell us a little bit about your program how many students you’re serving?

How many students are in temple, what percentage of your students are emergent bilingual? Dual language program can talk to us a little bit about that. So we have more context on that.

[00:21:00] Connie Sisneros: Temple is composed or comprised of about a little under 10, 000 students as a whole bilingual students or EBS.

We have a total of about almost 1400 kids. So we are about 16 percent of our district are EBS. Now we do have two bilingual schools. And the bilingual schools, we have about 350 kids combined, and then the rest of the students in that number are considered ESL kids.

[00:21:28] Mandi Morris: So at your bilingual schools, is it the entire campus, every single class is a bilingual classroom, or it’s a subset of the

[00:21:37] Connie Sisneros: overall school building?

In our bilingual schools, we do have a strand of bilingual that go along with the monolingual, so it’s just a subset. But it’s a good thing to have somebody like that to plan with because, again, in order to bridge, make those bridges or make those gains, we have to have a team. And I think it’s important to be, for our bilingual teachers to be able to plan and talk to and network with their their counterparts.

We also have opportunities where I pull all of the bilingual teachers. teachers together. So we not only plan, side by side, elbow to elbow, we also plan vertically and horizontally because we want to see what’s coming up next. And so I think that’s really important for our teachers to work together in those ways.

I love that

[00:22:21] Mandi Morris: you highlight the collaboration and how important that is for a bilingual program. And we know nationally, it’s difficult for school districts to find resources to pull teachers, especially a lot of states are struggling with subs Substitute teacher shortages, and then you add on to that we also have high teacher turnover rates right now and teacher vacancies.

So we’ve got a lot of new teachers in the building or long term subs running classrooms, and you’re still prioritizing professional learning and probably from what I’m hearing and understanding, finding it very important to do that. How do you structure that professional learning with your Teachers with maybe long term subs that you have.

Are our teachers running and managing PLCs in within the building like those weekly touch points in addition to I hear you’re pulling them multiple times a quarter, which really is a lot thinking about those struggles that you’re up against. Always budget, right? Is there the budget to pull them and face us?

How does that look like on a real weekly basis within the school building even?

[00:23:31] Connie Sisneros: Mandy, I think it’s really important to go back to the professional development piece because we do have teachers that are not certified. We do have teachers that need to finish up degrees or certifications. And it’s not the kid’s fault that they’re not, that they’re in that position.

So we have to do whatever it takes to help the kids move forward. We have instructional coaches. We have great teachers and teacher leaders. So during our PLCs, we do have our administrators who are wonderful. They actually co lead sometimes they lead or most times they lead, but they also co lead because they have some great teachers with great opportunities that they want to share with their colleagues.

One of the, one of the schools just last week was sharing their data and they had the teachers. Stand up, present their data, and then present what it is they’re going to do to inform their instruction to move the kids to the next level. That’s huge. When you know your kids like that, and you know what, where they were, what they did, and where they need to go next, and you’re going to do it, that’s huge, and that’s what we do.

That’s one of the reasons that professional development is so important, because now our teachers know, okay, these, this is what we’re going to do, and this is where we’re going to go, which would lead me to the next thing, which is resources. We’re going to go here, but how are we going to do it, and what are we going to use to get there?

And that’s one of the things that we have to do, is always think about what it is that we have in our toolbox, because we have, we’re actually resource rich. We have lots of resources, and I think a lot of districts out there are as well, but… It’s teaching the teachers what to grab when you need it.

And it’s not always the same thing for every kid. So you may have a group doing one thing and needing one thing, and another group needing something totally different. And those groups are going to be very flexible, and they’re going to change, sometimes week to week or day to day, depending on what the kids need.

[00:25:20] Justin Hewett: I love hearing about that and about your approach to to making sure that we’re adapting to each student. You talk a little bit about using data to inform those decisions and then, using the different tools and resources. I’d love to take a minute and maybe talk a little bit about, one of your more recent resources or tools that you’ve put in place there in Temple, which is flashlight 360.

You were one of our. Our very first partners, if not our very first partner in Texas, I actually think you were first. And it has been just an absolute pleasure to collaborate with you and your team and work with your team to serve your students. But I’d love to go back to the beginning.

And, I know you did a pilot with Flashlight 360 to start. And what was it that you saw? In flash site 360, that made you decide that you wanted to try it out.

[00:26:11] Connie Sisneros: oNe of the partners reached out to me and it was someone that I actually knew from a different company and it’s somebody that I trusted.

And so that to me. gave me an idea that I need to give this some time, give this person some time so I can talk about it or I can learn more about this. But when this person come, came to me and introduced Flashlight 360 to me, with every program that’s out there, there’s a lot of learning to be done and a lot of research behind it.

So when a company can come to me and tell me this is the research we’ve done, these are the things that we’ve seen. And we’re willing to let you try it for the summer, because that’s what I asked. I asked, I need to pilot this so I can see how it rolls out. I need to see how the teachers embrace it.

And if they embrace it, then it’s gold, because once the teachers are on board, my kids will, our students will be on board as well, because if our teachers have passion, our kids will too. And one of the things that we did when we decided to do Flashlight 360 was to pilot it in the summer. We had some teacher training, we had some really quick, short little checkpoints because summer school is just a lot shorter than regular school.

And even in that short amount of time, we saw some gains. And I thought to myself, this is something that’s worth doing and investigating for let’s do this for next year. So we went out, went ahead and signed on and we did it for a year because I saw that what our needs are, which were of course what the whole world needs, we need to grow in speaking and we need to grow in writing.

Because what kid is out there that just naturally speaks to a microphone? And that’s what TELPAS does.

[00:27:45] Justin Hewett: It’s something we all have to practice a little bit, right? And get more comfortable with. Do you mind maybe in your words, what would, how would you describe Flashlight 360 just for anybody that’s not familiar with it?

[00:27:55] Connie Sisneros: Flashlight 360 is a program that is intuitive. I think it grows with our kids. We, you have to have the training so the teachers know what to do next. But the tools are all there. It’s a resource that our teachers use. So it can work for all kids at all grade levels. So we have kids that are in.

From newcomers to already their advanced tie in most areas. And they just haven’t reclassified using this product. And what we’ve seen is the more we use it, the better we’re going, we’re getting at it because our teachers are starting to incorporate that and making that part of their natural regular lessons.

It’s not something separate. And I think that’s important to note is that this is not something you say we use flashlight during this time and this is all we do. You have to incorporate it. You have to embrace it and make it part of your curriculum. So one thing that I really do like about Flashlight is the openness that they have or willingness to create things.

So we use a different product for our curriculum. And we sometimes we’re teaching things like I don’t know, Renaissance. And so we need a picture about Renaissance. Or place value. That one really did happen just past a few months ago. The teacher said, I’m teaching a place value, and how in the world are you going to come up with a picture for place value?

So we asked Flashlight 360, and guess what? They created a picture for place value. This tells us… An enormous amount of information because the place value, it was a picture with the place value boxes and things like that, but it was in the background was I don’t know, like planets and stars.

So when a kid, you’re teaching them place value and they, you tell them label, ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, whatever label this picture. And when they say star planet. Moon have nothing to do with place value. This kid is needs some incentive instruction, but what’s been really nice about flashlight three 60 is as we do need pictures created, there’s a plethora of pictures now to pick from.

So our teachers have been able to go in, into the resources and find what they need. So it’s a program that helps our kids grow, but we actually grow with them. So if they have a picture that they’re labeling, so the next day or the day after we’re going to write sentences and short phrases, then we’re gonna, by the time you know it, at the end we’re gonna have whole papers written, paragraphs edited, and then they can read it and they sound so natural.

So when we can read it into a microphone, Our scores are definitely going to go up.

[00:30:23] Justin Hewett: Yeah it’s it’s fun to hear you talk about that place value image. I know that, we ha we have fun creating it and trying to figure it out. Our goal is to have images that align with all of the different standards.

So it’s it’s definitely a work in progress. There’s a lot of different standards we need to align to all in all. But that’s been a fun process for it. And so ultimately you’re using it to. To give students opportunities to practice their speaking and their writing and to use their language.

How is this different than, what you’ve done before?

[00:30:53] Connie Sisneros: When you do the same thing over and over again, nothing changes. You’ve got to do something different. So that’s why we decided to give Flashlight 360 a chance. And we we purchased it and are using it because this is a different product than anything we’ve ever used before.

I know I’ve had different companies say, we can increase your speaking, we can increase your telepath scores, but I don’t see the things that that they offer that are similar to what Flashlight 360 offers because it’s specifically for Speaking and writing, and we have seen shifts in speaking and writing because they are targeted,

[00:31:31] Mandi Morris: When I was teaching English language development at the middle school level, I would have teachers come to me all the time content teachers, discipline teachers, and say, I really need so and so to be able to do this test on Friday. Can you make sure he can do this test on Friday?

And we know as language specialists that we can’t wave a magical wand that teaches that child all of the background knowledge they need to be successful on that science test on Friday and all of the content language that they need. It has to be embedded. The structures for learning the background knowledge, getting the background knowledge, learning the vocabulary, academic vocabulary and language they need.

It has to be embedded in the core content classroom in order for students to be making those connections to have success. There isn’t a magical 30 minute lesson, that I can do. A day ahead of time to get the student prepared and something that you’ve said resonated with me that it’s not an, it’s not separate, it’s together.

The students are practicing the content language they need, they’re practicing the academic vocabulary that they need for success in class throughout the day. And I think that, as a language specialist, that’s when we can really see students. feel confidence that, and to be able to move from that social language to the content language, we can start creating those bridges and making the connections for them between the language I’m practicing has application throughout my day.

It’s not just. something that I do in isolation. I would love to hear you talk, Connie, a little bit about how are teachers making that connection in their instruction? And what’s, where are shifts that you’ve seen, even if they seem small, where are shifts or coachable moments that you’ve seen

[00:33:26] Connie Sisneros: with your teachers?

Our teachers have high expectations for our kids, and we have progress monitoring forms. Kids create their own goals for themselves. The teachers will share their with them where they are and then say, what do you think You can get to by say the next unit test and the kids will create goals for themselves and then they’ll go back and see if they made it or they didn’t make it.

And then if they didn’t make it, it’s not a bad thing. It’s just means how let’s figure out where it was that, that you didn’t, you need a little bit more, more work on and then we’ll go from there. I think that it’s important to have a progress monitoring tool, whether it be something internal or something that that they create as a district.

Every campus, we’ve given them the liberty to create their own because if you create your own and you make it your own, you’re going to use your own. I can’t. I think it’s important for the teachers to have some time to, to create something and then push it out and expect them to fill in all the boxes the way that I want them to be filled out, right?

That would be beautiful because I would just have one document to pick from, but I have to learn to, to what it is that they’re using so that I can see the growth that’s being made. I think that it’s important for the teachers to have that time to conference with kids. And I think it’s important for the kids to have goals for themselves and to have, to be motivated to move forward.

I think that the other thing that we do is we created these the ELPS probes, which we are, we consider benchmarks. And with the help of Flashlight 360, we have these ELPS probes and we can administer them three times a year. And we can actually See the growth from beginning middle and end of the year.

Now this year we probably won’t give the middle of the end of the year test helps probe because we’re learning as we go to at the end of the year. There are a million tests that are being administered and that’s just one more test that you know our kids would take. At the end of the year, we take the actual real telepaths.

So that’s what we use as our gauge at that point. But even comparing beginning of the year to middle of the year is huge because we can see some shifts, but that’s not the only thing that we do. We just, we don’t say this is, we don’t know if they’re growing or not. We need to know along the way we have checkpoints.

So our teachers are implementing different lessons flashlight 360 lessons. And we’re shifting as we go. Like I said, we can’t, we don’t have a surefire way of doing anything because every thing that we do, we have to be flexible. We have to know if it’s working or not. For example, in the middle school and high school, in order for me to get flashlight going, I thought, okay guys, give me a day.

We’ll call it Flashlight Fridays. Okay. Everybody got on board. We’re doing Flashlight Fridays. And so we did that last year for most of the year, actually, that was our Flashlight Fridays. So when we get to our results and we see, because middle schools and high school is just different, right? And we see that we made some shifts, but not great gains, not the way we wanted to see them.

So I asked them you get that to be their idea. So what do you think we need to do? If I could just get them to do this. More often than I think we can see some shifts. Guess what? Now we’re doing flashlight 360. Pretty much every day, but not the full lesson. So we just take parts of it, components of it.

So what are you going to do on Mondays? What are you going to do on Tuesdays? And it’s not maybe the same thing for everybody, but we have a component of Flashlight 360 embedded within their lesson. So if you’re going to teach, whatever it is that you’re teaching in the classroom, then they’re going to Introduce that in vocabulary and maybe find a picture and things like that so that then they are touching it every single day.

So by the end of the week, they can do the whole day. They still have flashlight Fridays, but now we can move a little bit further that way. I

[00:37:10] Mandi Morris: love that your approach to be flexible and really individually meet the students also influences how you support your teachers in your school district.

And we know from, John Hattie’s research that teachers make a big impact, a bigger impact when they feel ownership over that work, when they feel like they’re bringing expertise when their knowledge in the classroom is appreciated and empowered by their leaders. And I love hearing that’s how you support your teachers.

You’re saying it doesn’t have to be the same for everybody. Your students, we can be flexible. We can adapt. Let me hear from you what you need. And I wonder. What advice would you give to other directors, to other coaches, to other leaders about how do you foster that relationship and build that trust with the teachers who are there with the students every day?

[00:38:09] Connie Sisneros: onE of the things that I would say is make sure that you inspect what you expect. And whether it be formal or informal. I do a lot of informal visits, observations. And the teachers know when they see me coming in. They know this is not evaluative. I am not there to evaluate them. I’m there to see what’s going on, and so we can help coach each other or coach the kids.

And I know we have a lot of new teachers that I go into classrooms sometimes, and they may need a little more coaching than others, and that’s great, but you have to know when to give it gas and when to let off. And some of these teachers will take this and will move, forward on their own and create things and just morph it into their own, being, and then that’s great.

But then you have some teachers that may need a little bit more help and, or students that may need a little more help. I’ve been really lucky this year. I have a new coordinator who is, who was an instructional coach. And so she is very helpful with. Coming into classroom, going into classrooms and coaching teachers, even though it’s not, she is not the instructional coach anymore.

That’s not her title, but she’s the coordinator. Oh, that’s

[00:39:19] Justin Hewett: fantastic. That is fun to hear. And one of the things that I love hearing about is how you’ve built out your program, right? As a director, like you’ve been doing this 10 years and I can just hear it over, through the confidence, like you, you’ve mentioned in community, you’re, you have these professional development programs.

I love hearing that. I’m curious what data as a director, As a leader for this organization, what data have you gotten from Flashlight 360 that you feel like has and what, how do you feel like that’s informed you to be able to lead your department? Are there any decisions that you’ve made using that data that you feel like is making a

[00:39:57] Connie Sisneros: difference?

The data that we get from Flashlight 360 is really important in, in me knowing next with our teachers. So do we need more practice in vocabulary or grammar? What components do we need to grow in? And it may not be a complete professional development for everybody, but then I’ll know that during that PLC, we need to shift a little bit, and we need to get the instructional coaches.

It’s not always my coordinator or myself going in there into the PLCs, of course not, because we don’t have that time, but our instructional coaches are awesome. And so we work with them as well. And we’ll tell them, okay, your second grade needs more work on vocabulary. What is it we’re going to do?

We, how are we going to get this up? Because flashlight three 60 gives us these reports that are just. It’s really great because they tell us exactly where we fall, where the kids fall. Basically we can make our own groups using those reports and move forward from that.

[00:40:47] Justin Hewett: Yeah. It’s interesting to hear you talk about using the data to inform, your professional development for your teachers, because, ultimately.

I guess that’s what ends up happening. This is a new work for a lot of people to be able to listen to students, provide them with feedback, score students. And we’re taking school, scoring of speaking, instead of it just being the one score that we get from telepaths or access or whatever, to being, five different speaking scores.

And it sounds like you’ve been able to use that data to, to decide, professional development. Is there any other direction or any other decisions that you’re using that data for? It

[00:41:22] Connie Sisneros: comes from, all the way back from what the state rates us, how they rate us. So looking at RDA, the results driven accountability, that’s what really shifted a lot of decisions that, that I made.

And even in this department, so it goes, I know that they rate us on things like dropout rate, graduation rate the star scores and things like that’s very broad, very general. So how are we going to improve those? We have to drill down and dig exactly to where our needs are. When we get our TELPAS results back, it doesn’t mean that it’s, as a whole, this is what we are.

We need to see where we are individually. We go back down to the grade level. We go back down to what group of kids and cohorts. And why aren’t we moving? Why, what’s making them stay in one area? You have to know your kids. You have to know what to do next. And I think that’s one of the things that’s really important about Flashlight 360.

It gives us those activities or those ideas that the teacher can say, I don’t know how to get my kid to the next level. They’ve been stuck on intermediate for so long. So let’s see what we can do. Let’s look at the reports. Let’s see what they, where they fall. And then they even have a file where we can go in and actually pull specific skills or specific lessons to help those students move forward.

[00:42:38] Justin Hewett: That’s so fun to hear. It’s fun to hear how you’re using it. And yeah, every district uses it a little bit differently, but you’ve been on a journey here for a bit. And so it’s been fun to dive into and talk a little bit about flashlight 360 and your implementation with it. We’ve been really grateful to be your partners in serving your students, and it’s been fun to hear about those successes as we move through it.

[00:42:58] Connie Sisneros: I’m looking forward to seeing the results that you guys were sharing our TELPAS scores with you. Yeah, and they’re coming up with a comparison and I believe they’re going to send them off to the like you said earlier to the john hopkins university.

I really want to see what those results are. I think that any report that you get that’s related to language. It needs to be heard. It needs to be seen. So give it some attention so you’ll know where to go because they don’t just produce these reports for fun. These reports are informative. That’s right.

[00:43:29] Justin Hewett: Why do you think that there hasn’t been as much of a focus on speaking for these last few years, right? There’s always been this focus on reading and Obviously on writing to a degree as well as an extension of that, you know listening to some degree But speaking I feel like has been Lost in the shuffle through the years.

Do you feel that way too? And if so, why do

[00:43:52] Connie Sisneros: you think so? I think that speaking hasn’t had the fine glass put to it because Everything else has been just too important. Everything else is on the forefront. Everything else is more important as far as on the front burner. And if our kids, we hear kids speaking, then they’re speaking, they’re fine.

But what we’re not hearing is the academic vocabulary. We’re not hearing that. the CALP. We’re not hearing them speak according to their grade level as their peers would be speaking. So I think that TELPAS recognizes that and, or and that’s why they test our kids with academic vocabulary. And so now that is something that the state uses.

Now there’s a great push or a great need for teaching kids speaking and not necessarily that they can’t speak. And that’s one of the reasons that our parents sometimes ask us why is my kid in the ESL program? Even our parents don’t understand. It’s our jobs to help them understand why they’re in the program.

They’re in the program because they haven’t caught up to their native speaking peers in their classroom. I think it’s important for everybody to be on the same page and to have the same information, but the most important person that needs to know that is the student. They need to know where they fall and what it is that they need to do next because eventually they’re going to get into high school.

And we have a phenomenal CTE program here. You can graduate being a phlebotomist, a pharmacy assistant. You can graduate with a dog grooming or a pet grooming certificate. It’s awesome. I invite anybody that wants to come and see our CTE program to come because it’s something to be very proud of. But the reason I’m saying that is if you want those opportunities to be in one of those strands, you need to get out of ESL so you can free up one of those electives.

So that’s one of the reasons we start taking our kids on field trips to our CTE program. It’s a two story building, and it’s just, Amazing. Culinary. It just, everything is just amazing. So if these kids want to be a chef and they want to come out of high school with a certificate already, cosmetology, and a lot of these girls, they want to be, they want to have that cosmetology degree or certificate.

They can actually have a license to cut hair when they get out of high school, but you have to have the time in your schedule. And the way you get that time in your schedule is if you’re not in an ESL elective. Now, That’s what I say. I’m not going to keep my kids from having a if that’s going to be their bread and butter, we’re going to find ways of supporting them and still giving, still give them that, but that’s what we tell our kids.

So that hopefully that will be a motivator for them to get out of the program.

[00:46:24] Justin Hewett: What an amazing program. That’s incredible. Are you kidding me? No, it’s real. Mandy, you could have figured out that you don’t necessarily love blood and didn’t want to be a nurse when you were in high school trying to do phlebotomy or something.

Yeah, I would have

[00:46:37] Mandi Morris: saved a year and a half of taking classes and student loans. Actually graduate

[00:46:42] Connie Sisneros: with their CNA certificates. And they, we not colleges and for all kids. And we know that we wish that everybody would go to college, but you know what, that’s okay. There are trades out there that make just enough money.

plenty of money for them to survive and to live their lives. So we help those kids. And some of these kids will go through our CTE program and then go on to college. And then they’ve already, I have actually, my nephew went through a program here in, in in temple high school.

And he started college as a junior. He had an associate’s degree and he had several things under his belt. Kudos to him. He was, he’s ahead of the crowd

[00:47:22] Justin Hewett: and how cool that temples, put the opportunities in place to be able to do that. Or to be able to graduate and have your CNA or whatever it might be.

That is so cool. Wow. Way to go. Temple. Really? That’s really impressive. I want to shift gears just a little bit, Connie. I want to go back To when you were making the transition from from being an instructional coach or, what was it that you were doing before you became in this role, the executive director of ESL and bilingual, I was a coordinator, coordinator.

Tell me about making the shift. Early on, we heard about how you were on a mission and so it made it easy for you to take on a leadership role or a coaching type role. What were some of your challenges as you moved into this director role? I know that you’re 10 years into it now.

So you’ve had your matrix moment, things have slowed down. You figured out some things that were really hard at the beginning of there, maybe were broken but when you first stepped into that role, what were your biggest challenges?

[00:48:21] Connie Sisneros: Some of my challenges starting this, in this role was trying to figure out what it is that we’re going to do.

And this is not my program. So I had to come up with a way of getting a committee together or my quote unquote cabinet, so that whatever it is that we do, it’s not just me saying that we’re going to do this, because I need to have people with buy in. I need to have people to collaborate with, because this is not my program.

This is. This is the school districts, and we need to make sure that we’re all on, on board. One of the first things that I did was I created a little committee, and it included teachers, it included even a pair of professionals, some administrators, and how is it that we’re going to roll this out?

What is it that we need to do first? What curriculum are we going to use, and why? If we have buy in from all perspectives, then that’s going to be our number one step. We have to have teacher buy in anything that we do. Because the teachers are in front and center.

I feel

[00:49:18] Mandi Morris: like what you’re sharing, it goes back to building community. If we think back to the very beginning, what you were saying was how do we have a partnership between the school and the community? And that was part of your vision from the very beginning. How do we Spread ownership because it does belong to everyone.

It’s the school district. It’s the teachers, the students, the families that are trusting us with their children. And from the very beginning, you were trying to build trust and build ownership across everybody involved. What are some What’s some guidance that you could offer about engaging your family community?

I’ve heard from other school districts that post COVID that’s really been a challenge. So if you think back to what were you doing at the beginning and how has that changed over the years to engage families in the into the school system and the classroom instruction,

[00:50:12] Connie Sisneros: all of it. One thing that I think that needs to be done in order to include community into our district is you need to know your people.

You need to know who is out there to help you. We have a really strong partnership with the workforce and they come in and talk to our newcomers about, what to do during an interview, how to dress for an interview, eye contact, because some of those things. their culture. that may be rude in their culture or for where they’re coming from.

You don’t look at some, an adult in the eye, but we have to tell them in an interview, this is what you do. This is you. This is how you sound is how you look. So our workforce is a really strong partner that we have. We also have partnerships with all kinds of, places. We have the chamber of commerce and we have of course the local, the grocery stores and things like that, that they come and sponsor us, but they have buy in with us because they know we are going to do.

Good with our students. We have we you have to have Good. Build good relationships with your parents. I have parents that they know my number and they pass it around. It’s like wildfire. And all of a sudden I start getting phone calls about, I need to know what school my kid’s going to go to, or my, I get a phone call at 620 in the morning.

The bus hasn’t come by. What are you doing at 620 in the morning at the bus stop? So they don’t understand how things work. So I’m not transportation. I’m not the nursing department. I’m not student services, but I am to them. And that’s okay. And I accept that. And I will help them in any way that I can.

You have to be open to all of your parents and everything that they need, because once you start shutting them down and saying, Oh, that’s not my department. Call them back. This is the number to call. They’re not going to trust you anymore. You’ve got to build trust with your parents, your community, with your teachers and whatever it is that you say you’re going to do it.

[00:51:57] Justin Hewett: Oh, I love that. That is so powerful. Yeah. Yeah. The focus on build on community and building gap community and building that rapport is definitely been a common thread, throughout our conversation today. I’m wondering. When you think back and you began this journey of, in, in working with, bilingual students, emerging bilingual students, and who, when you think back, who’s had the biggest impact?

Who’s made the biggest impact on you, on your journey as a bilingual educator?

[00:52:29] Connie Sisneros: hOnestly I can’t say there’s one person or one thing as a director, you just jump in feet first and you have to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. So you have to surround yourself with people who you can rely on people that you can ask questions.

So that’s the number one is make lots of networking friends or have opportunities to network with other people. Research, learn, go to conferences, especially the ones that are geared toward our state. Level ones, because the ones that are national, they tell you all kinds of things. They’re wonderful conferences, but you need to know what’s going on in Texas.

So the Texas ones that are based here in Texas, those are the ones that you’re going to connect with. I’ve got connections in my contacts in my phone with people that I’ve only met face to face once, but that I call them or email them when I need something. And they, we know each other that way.

So you have to network with other people. You have to research. We’ve brought in different kinds of Presenters or we’ve gone to conferences and we’ll bring back that information. We’re real big on Marzano. We’re real big on silent strategies. We’re real big on different things like that because we know those things work.

And then we don’t just go in and learn them and see them one time and we’re done. We have expectations. We follow up. Okay, so we’ve learned some silent strategies. So now let’s go and observe. What goals are you going to Create for yourself. We’ve done this in the middle school and I’m about to do that again with another middle school that I’m going to be working with soon.

So we present, we give them the information. Then I ask them out of everything that I’ve taught you today, what goals do you have for your department? Because they’re by department, right? And if they say we’re going to use more visuals, great. In the next few weeks, I’ll come back and I’ll say I’m going to come visit you in your classroom.

Non evaluative, of course, but I’m going to come see if you have visuals up in your classroom. And if they do, thumbs up. And if they don’t, it’s what can I do to help? That’s all it is. You’ve got to have follow through. Whatever you do, have follow through because if you just go and see it once and let it go, that’s just like letting it go to the wind.

[00:54:30] Justin Hewett: Yeah, I had a mentor that taught me that you show how much you care. By following up if there’s no follow up. Did you really care about that? So

[00:54:42] Connie Sisneros: I always leave feedback. Leave him a little note is again a non evaluative note. And I’ll keep saying that over and over, but it’s important for your teachers to know that you’re not there.

You’re not a gotcha. You’re there to help them grow and so I’m always leaving them little notes if I go into their classroom or I make sure a note is left behind because if we go in there as you know a team of two or three people because we do that as well with our district. We’ll go in and observe as a team.

At least one of us to leave a note behind saying, great job kudos on such and such be specific not great job great job on what be specific, right?

[00:55:17] Justin Hewett: It’s fantastic. We’re coming to the end of our conversation here. What a Wonderful meandering conversation has been fantastic.

Connie. Thank you so much for taking this time with us I think what we’ll do is we’ll just ask you a couple quick questions just as a fun way to, to wrap up and let people have a few a few little spots here. What is what is your favorite book, like multilingual learner book, emergent bilingual book what book comes to mind?

[00:55:45] Connie Sisneros: Right now, I think I have to say this, the seven strategies of a print rich classroom by Silates, because it’s an easy read and it’s something that you can easily implement. And with schools that are jumping on board and wanting more, that’s a good place to start and that’s where I’m starting with one of my schools in the next couple weeks.

And it’s not necessarily going to be a book study. It’s going to just be a presentation, but it’s based on that book. And so when we get to the part that says, one of the strategies, speaking complete sentences, how can you do that? So we’ll don’t underestimate us.

We’ll pull in flashlight into that because we have access to flashlight across the board. And so how do you speak into complete sentences and where do you hear yourself? I think one of the most important things that one of the. The coolest things that I’ve seen lately is with the Flashlight 360 is when we just finished our beginning of the year ELPS probe and we got our results back and the kids can go into their backpack and hear themselves.

How cool is that? That’s not what I said. That’s not how I sound. Oh, yes it is. Yeah, because they’re like, I thought I did better than that. You didn’t. So I think it’s great when you have proof that this is exactly what you did and this is how you sound.

[00:57:05] Justin Hewett: It reminds me so much of an athlete, watching the tape of their game with their coach is like.

Oh, I didn’t realize I really was doing that thing you were telling me not to do. I love that.

[00:57:20] Mandi Morris: Connie, if you could spend a day with anyone in the ML space, who would it be?

[00:57:27] Connie Sisneros: I just recently heard Dr. ET and she’s out of El Paso. And one of the things that inspired me about her was her passion for helping teachers grow and Passed the bilingual certification test because that bilingual certification test is a beast and it’s so hard for some of our teachers to pass.

We have teachers who are phenomenal teachers and there are certain pieces or parts of that test that are hard to pass and her theme is or her little saying is. Tu pasas porque pasas. And that means you’re gonna pass because you’re gonna pass. So she’s gonna, that just means she’s got so much confidence and she’s gonna do what it is, whatever it takes, to get you across that line.

And I just, I think that’s That passion, that motivation. I think that’s just great. I would just love to pick her brain and just know exactly what it is that you do or what it is that you say that’s so inspiring to the teachers that they’re going to pass because they’re going to pass.

[00:58:33] Justin Hewett: Sometimes we have to borrow confidence from somebody else, huh?

 I love kind of hearing about that. I want to, will you say that again? I don’t speak Spanish, but I want to hear you say that again. You’re going to pass because you’re going to pass, but say it in Spanish.

[00:58:44] Connie Sisneros: And that’s like saying it in a way. Yeah. And it’s almost in a way that when you’re.

It’s like a family thing to me. It reminds me of something like your parents gonna tell you’re gonna do this and you’re gonna like it. Okay, there’s not another choice.

[00:59:05] Justin Hewett: Oh, that is so fantastic. Connie, what a wonderful conversation. Okay, I, I’ve got to ask this last question. let’s, we’ve got a number of directors that listen to this and that are in their first or second year and as leading their English learner department and their multilingual learner department.

And they’re still getting their feet under them a little bit. They are putting in a lot of hours. They’re working it, working their tail off. They love them, they’re on a mission. What advice would you share with them to a new director in their

[00:59:38] Connie Sisneros: role? For the new directors out there, I would probably just tell them to take it piece by piece because you can’t shoot the whole elephant at one time.

And you have to surround yourself with people that can help you. And it may not even be people in your own… district. You need to make those network connections. Know other people in other places so that you can you can have different points of view. Just because I know somebody in another place doesn’t mean I’m going to do it like them, but I know what to compare it to.

Or am I like it? pieces or parts of what they’re doing and bring it to my district. So you have to be very versatile and knowing different things, different people so that you can customize whatever it is that you’re trying to, whatever mission you’re trying to accomplish, but you can do it and knowing that you’ve gotten some good nuggets from different people.

[01:00:27] Justin Hewett: So wonderful. I bet there’s a number of people who are going to want to reach out to you and ask your thoughts, ask your advice. Is there a good way for them to reach out to you? Is that it, would you prefer to push them to Twitter or email where,

[01:00:40] Connie Sisneros: I feel like I’m very humble.

I don’t know that anybody’s going to be totally inspired by what I had to say today, but I am always open to helping or assisting or even just talking to whoever wants to, to talk and they can definitely email me. They can reach me through Twitter and or even Facebook messenger. I have my own personal Facebook messenger.

Those are all personal to me. They’re not Tied to the district and I’m also on LinkedIn. They can find me in a number of ways. I’m also on the website and you can just click on the bilingual tab and my email will pop up and I’ll be glad to respond or just talk because I know sometimes you just need a talking partner, somebody that can, Has been down a road and can help, with whatever I can help with, I will help.

[01:01:31] Justin Hewett: Wonderful. We’ll link to that in the show notes to your Twitter. And we’ll also probably share the Temple ISD Twitter. I know they’re a great follow, especially with all the CTE stuff. And they do a good job of highlighting that. We’ll see, we’ll share your LinkedIn as well. Connie, thank you so much for being, such an incredible advocate for our students and such a great leader in our community.

We, we. We are grateful for the time we’ve been able to spend together, but most of all, thank you so much for your work.

[01:01:58] Connie Sisneros: I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you guys today. I’m just glad to do what I do and, hope to inspire children to do their best, their teachers to do their best, and anybody that, that wants to talk and call or whatever, I’m here.

I don’t know everything, and that’s one thing that I need to make sure everybody understands. I’m a learner too, and I will always be a learner. And so if I can learn from them, hey. That’d be great too. I

[01:02:24] Justin Hewett: love it.

[01:02:25] Mandi Morris: I’m really thankful for your

[01:02:26] Connie Sisneros: time. Thank you for the opportunity.


[01:02:29] Justin Hewett: Thank you so much. Okay. Thanks Connie. Appreciate you. We’ll talk to you soon.



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