Jumpstart Fresno Alumni Connection

January 2018

Welcome to 2018!

Jumpstart Fresno entered the new year with lots of news! This edition of the Alumni Connection highlights early January trainings for Site Staff and Team Leaders and recognizes three amazing alumni that have stayed connected as teaching colleagues. Finally, we pay tribute to Roxanne McClain - our newest alum and newly credentialed graduate!


Corps Member Spotlight

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Roxanne McClain - Fall 2014 - Fall 2017

Roxanne McClain was a Corps Member, Team Leader, and Program Assistant from Fall 2014 to Fall 2017. She has just finished her Teaching Credential and is starting her teacher career. We are thankful for her time and dedication and wish her the best as a teacher.

Why did you join Jumpstart?

I joined Jumpstart because I love working with children and the program gave me the opportunity to work with them while fulfilling my education. Every year, I was able to take a new role, which helped me grow and develop in the field. At the same time, I felt that I could contribute and make a difference, not only with the children, but also with the Corps Members.

What roles did you have in Jumpstart?

In 2014-2015 I started as a Corps Members and became the materials manager for the team. Next, I became a Team Leader, where I lead meetings and prepared session activities with my teammates. I learned a lot about time management and delegating. I felt stressed out during my first semester because I felt that I needed to ensure everything was done correctly. After learning to delegate and to trust the team I felt much more comfortable in my role. This year, I also met my little best friend,” it was my favorite year in Jumpstart.

I really enjoyed my year and a half as a Program Assistant too. I learned about all the work it takes for a team to be in the preschool classroom. I gained many leadership skills and learned how to give positive feedback during team observations. It was fun interviewing Corps Members too, but I think I was more nervous than them!

How has the program impacted the children?

Jumpstart adds additional resources, especially the one on one support, which is critical to the population we serve. Some of their parents work long hours or are not available to help with skills that prepare them for kindergarten.

How is/will Jumpstart help you in your future career?

Planning, classroom management, parent interactions, and collaborating with classroom teachers are all skills that I need as a teacher. As a Corps Members, I also learned about the children’s skills, along with their likes and dislikes, so I learned to adapt activities to make them developmentally appropriate.

What is your biggest take away from serving at Jumpstart?

The program helped me grow A LOT! It allowed me to apply what I’m learning in school. It definitely polished my leadership skills and reinforced my passion for working with children. I want to share my enthusiasm towards children and education with everyone. I hope I can continue to be a resource for Corps Members, even now, as I have completed my credential program and my journey as a Jumpstart member.

Alumni Spotlight

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Esmeralda Lara (Corps member and Team Leader, 2002-06), Jennifer Vang (Corps member, 2004-05), and Regina Prum (Corps member and Student Assistant, 2004-07) are Jumpstart alumni and served together as AmeriCorps members on one of Jumpstart Fresno’s Kings Canyon PM team, during the 2005-06 program year. All three members have become teachers and they have remained friends ever since!

What are some of your memories of your Jumpstart experience? (Team, Team Leader, Teacher, child or children with whom you worked, classroom, community, trainings, etc.)

Esmeralda: I remember learning a lot from the teachers in the classrooms, as I did not know anything about teaching. I would learn to mimic their style (especially Mrs. Turner saying “You’re canceled.”). There was a lot of good classroom management strategies I learned, how to keep learning fun for the children. Of course the friendships we establish with our team members, as well.

Jennifer: It was a very tumultuous time for me, and the lasting friendships I made with my team really kept me going.

Regina: Just like the others, the friendships we make with others were important, becoming very close with others on the team (almost like family). Also, we would always remind ourselves that our work in Jumpstart is “for the kids.” That saying stays with us today, working with colleagues in education.

Describe your Career path.

Esmeralda: I was a Psychology major during Jumpstart, until my second year, when I changed to a Deaf Education major, which I completed for my Bachelor Degree. I then went on to the Credential program and was hired to teach following my student teaching, and have been teaching for 10 years. I am currently teaching Seventh grade English at Sequoia Middle School in Southeast Fresno.

Jennifer: After Jumpstart, I completed the Credential program and was hired to teach Kindergarten in Sanger. I really enjoy working with younger children. I am currently teaching Second grade at Lincoln Elementary School in Sanger.

Regina: I worked as a Assistant at Greenberg Elementary School, in an after school program in Southeast Fresno. I finished my Credential program and was desperate for a job (this was during the recession), as well as providing for two children! I got involved in Bethesda Lutheran Communities, supporting developmentally challenged adults, when I received a call from Fresno Unified about teaching (in 2012). Everyone was so encouraging for me to go on and become a teacher. It will be six years of teaching for me this year. I also taught at Homan Elementary School my first three years, then returned to Southeast Fresno to teach at Storey Elementary (this will be my third year there).

How did your Jumpstart experience enhance or change your current career path?

Jennifer: My experience in Jumpstart definitely helped prepare me. It gave me more confidence in myself, especially being in front of others. As mentioned before, I was able to make genuine friendships with others on my team.

Regina: It was great to familiarize myself with lesson plans (created for Jumpstart sessions) and objectives for the activities. I also found myself as a Poster Maker!

Tell us about some of the skills you learned in your Jumpstart experience and how you may have used those skills in subsequent positions.

Esmeralda: As a Team Leader, I learned to prepare to work with other adults. For Fresno Unified, I have been able to help mentor new teachers over the years. I was also exposed to the Administrative side of things.

Jennifer: I learned general preparation for work: how to be a professional, organization skills, and time management. That was helpful for becoming a new teacher because you learn that you are responsible for your own actions (to be prepared to support the children in the classroom). You also learn how you are interdependent with each other.

Regina: Learning about teamwork was valuable. We were fortunate to have a very good team!

Advice for Current CMs

Esmeralda: I wish someone had told me to nurture the relationship with the team. It happened for the three of us. Also, remember the time you have in the classroom, and be flexible with learning.

Regina: Just remember: “It’s for the kids.” That is why you are there.

Thank you Jumpstart Fresno Alumni

Reconnect with Jumpstart Fresno

  • Sign up to be a reader or do crafts with children during Jumpstart Family Literacy Night at the Betty Rodriguez Regional Library (Dates: February 21; March 21; April 18 @4:00pm) fresnojumpstart@gmail.com
  • Please share our newsletter with other Jumpstart Fresno Alumni!