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How We Exemplify Our Values: Part 2

One of the aspects I’ve found to be most noble while working at Participate is that our values are just that: valued. And there is a certain rarity and specialness in this. The values that amplify our mission of ensuring equitable and inclusive access to quality education are more than just words on a page. They are referenced, practiced, cited and celebrated daily.

Following up to part one in our series on how we exemplify our values, the story of how one Participate employee has delivered excellent work inside and outside of classrooms across North Carolina, North America and beyond.

In part one of our core value blog series, we focused on how we work to make one another better. Following up to that, let’s follow how one Participate employee delivers excellent work across the state and the world.

Deliver excellent work

Dual Language Instructional Specialist Rocio Evans has an undeniably positive presence. When she walks into a room, her national confidence, inviting smile and effortless strands of Spanglish put you at ease.Rocio with one of her students.

These qualities transfer well into Rocio’s work. Both Honduran and Costa Rican, she left Honduras in 2007 to become a teacher at E.E. Miller Elementary. This was one of the first schools to embrace Participate’s dual language immersion program. Over the course of five years, she taught kindergarten, first and third grade. She helped many other cultural exchange teachers adjust, prepare and acclimate along the way.

Sometimes, this involved giving a tour of her school during an intersession and explaining school culture. Other times it meant providing smartboard training and sharing lesson plans. Rocio continued to assist other teachers, even those at other dual language program schools. She loved getting the chance to help those who were in a setting she knew all too well: new job, new city, new country, new culture, new life.

When she returned home to Costa Rica, she persisted. Oftentimes she offered teachers advice and feedback through Skype sessions. “I never really let go of Participate,” she says.

Thus, when she received an offer in 2014 – this time, to coach – she didn’t hesitate to accept. Since then, she has helped build innovative coaching systems and processes. She trained principals and support staff and also created and translated courses. She has helped lead cultural exchange teacher orientations. She assisted in lesson planning and provided teacher coaching. “I’ve been on the floor, I’ve been in classrooms dusting things off and organizing books. I’ve even stayed to laminate things for a teacher while they’re having lunch. It’s for them. To show them that we’re here for them and their success,” she says.

Rocio and two of her students

Applying experience to support teachers

Rocio explains that having experience both within and around the classroom has helped. It allows her to focus on teacher needs, which she and her team continually vie to understand and meet. “It was nice to go from being a teacher to this. When you’re a teacher, you’re [generally] reaching one classroom. When you’re a coach, you’re reaching more students,” she explains.

Being a source of teacher support is what drives her. It’s what makes her excited to go to work every morning. “It’s those connections with the teachers, being that guide that they are looking for. Building that trust and knowing that I can be there for the teachers, and therefore, for the students” Rocio exclaims. “The type of support, I think, is what sets us apart. The experience just makes it worth it.”

In these ways and countless others, Participate employees deliver excellent work. Stay tuned for more ways in which we exemplify our values in and around the workplace! Up next, “Part 3: Seek and share feedback.”