The success of students isn’t due to the labor of one or two people but the efforts of an entire community. The challenges that came with remote learning highlighted the importance of collaboration more than ever for Johnston Elementary School first-grade teacher, Elly Gonzales. 

During the first weeks of the semester, Gonzales quickly noticed the outstanding efforts of student Keilly Martinez and her mom, Ruth Escobar, to be present, engaged and helpful every day.

“Keilly is always present and always participates,” says Gonzales. “It’s a pleasure being with her in the Zoom classes, and mom is always there with her. [Escobar] was like my co-teacher on the parent side. She was always trying to help me solve problems.” 

Escobar’s involvement was a game changer for Gonzales. Escobar provided crucial feedback about what the new online classroom looked like and how it operated from the student point of view, allowing Gonzales to elevate her instruction and better reach her students. 

For Escobar, being involved in Keilly and her other children’s education is top priority in a long list of responsibilities. In addition to assisting in Keilly’s classroom, she also makes sure Keilly’s younger brother is engaged in his remote PreK classwork, all while taking care of her youngest child and several nieces and nephews. 

“My main motivation is that they learn,” says Escobar. “I did not study as much as I would have liked, but I do want them to study, to pursue their education much further than I did.”

Escobar’s close involvement has not only helped Gonzales but also boosted Keilly’s progress in the classroom. Escobar shares that just in the past year, she has witnessed her daughter grow significantly. 

“When I think of her in kindergarten when she knew syllables and see her today write complete words, reading words and simple sentences, it is a great satisfaction,” says Escobar. “She gets excited and tells me ‘Look mommy, I did this! I’m a smart girl!’”

Ultimately, Escobar is determined to give her best so that her kids can succeed in all they do. 

“I try to give my best so that they can be better than me,” says Escobar. “As parents, it is not easy, especially when you have several children ‘attending’ classes at the same time. We are not perfect but with effort, doing the best we can, we can help their teachers and achieve the best results in their learning process.”