June Featured Educator – Valencia Patilla

image Valencia PatillaValencia Patilla or “Ms. P ” as she likes to be called, is an exceptional teacher and pushes students, not only to learn in school, but to pursue knowledge outside of their classes. As an ELA teacher for 6-8th grade, Valencia provides students with literature and writings that reflect their culture and ethnicities. She also facilitates innovative uses for current and emerging digital tools to creatively enhance instruction, as well as enhance student storytelling. To simply write a five-paragraph essay is not enough in “Ms. P’s” class. They must have sound arguments, cite their sources, develop models using innovative technological practices, and create essays that are relatable to modern readers. In the near future, the goal is to create a student blog, in which students will create their own content, prepare their writing, and upload the content onto the website. This is an exciting technological approach to advancing literacy amongst the students. Many of the students are interested in journalism and this is an exciting way for them to begin to use their writing to express themselves and send a message. During these blog sessions, Ms. P will be able to evaluate student writing structure, analyze their use of grammar, and monitor the use of the tools taught in class. 

In addition to her traditional teaching role, Valencia runs the Ms. P Taught Me Online Enrichment Program for grades 5-8. This offering, which is funded through federal grants and fund-raising efforts by Patilla, is offered free of charge to students. In this capacity, Patilla fosters a safe space for students to build upon their literacy skills, as well as learn new ones. Current events coupled with historical ones lead to deeper conversations to increase students’ understanding of our world.  Ms. P. Taught Me is now an enrichment and tutoring company that has the capability of serving students throughout the nation in grades 5-12. Because this is a virtual learning space, Ms. P. is required to use digital tools such as: Zoom, Google Classroom, Brain Pop, and Kahoot, amongst others. The Zoom platform allows for students to work in a group setting. The cohorts are between 10-12 students. When students need specialized attention, they can be placed into breakout rooms and work with Ms. P. on challenging tasks. Online programs such as Brain Pop and Kahoot provide fun ways for students to engage in the content. Currently, Ms. P. is working with a web developer to design a class to teach students how to code and develop basic websites. Students will have the opportunity to gain real world experience in web design, and they will walk away with real life skills.  

It is clear to see that Valencia Patilla has a passion for her teaching practice, and goes above and beyond to bring insightful learning experiences to her students. MassCUE is pleased to have her as our Featured Educator for June, 2021. Congratulations, Valencia, on a job well-done! 

Valencia Patilla has been an educator for over 10 years and has taught in private, charter, and public schools. She is known for her commitment to creating culturally competent curriculum and curating books that center characters of color. To her students and colleagues, she is simply Ms. P. However, there isn’t anything simple about the work that she does. She has created a year-long study called: From Frederick Douglass to Ferguson and Beyond. This study takes an in-depth look at the intentional connections of the “Black Experience” through a curated thread of moments ranging from the life of Frederick Douglass to the tragic death of Mike Brown. During this year-long study, students are provided with a historical understanding of racially motivated violence in this country. She has created other units of study that center topics such as gentrification and colorism. She has participated in the Boston Ed Talks and taught Master Classes at the Expeditionary Learning Conferences. Her students have been featured in the Boston Globe and WCVB’s CityLine. 

Valencia has a Master of Education and is licensed to teach students in grades 5-12. She is currently engaging in the coursework necessary to attain her Special Education license. It is her experiences and academic attainment that has allowed her to branch off and create Ms. P. Taught Me’s: Enrichment and Tutoring programs. She has decided to make her strategies, curriculum, and activities available to all students. Valencia creates and delivers meaningful professional development for teachers and staff, surrounding cultural competency.

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