Brand new teachers and brand new to #TeamVISD teachers came together over three days to prepare for the new school year with the Connect Conference 2022.

The Connect Conference was an opportunity for Victoria ISD to welcome our new team members into the VISD family. It also served as a space for new teachers to build connections with district staff, their campus teams, and teachers from other campuses. New teachers were also informed about the instructional strategies and resources available to them at VISD. 

Over the course of three days, those in attendance learned about connecting to their “Genius,” connecting to learning, connecting to others, and how to continue those connections.  

In VISD, we have a few phrases we often use, like Finding Their And, Leading Towards Genius, and Finding Your Genius. These phrases encompass what the district wants for our students and staff. During presentations, you’ll even hear us introducing each other by their genius too. 

Keri Ruiz

Keri Ruiz, first-year teacher and Rowland Elementary Kindergarten Teacher for the 2022-2023 school year, felt energized and better prepared for the new school year after attending the conference. “It was a blast. It really was,” said Ruiz. “I learned so much, and I feel so much more confident now, definitely, going into this first year of school.”

In breakout sessions, the new teachers went over rules and procedures, setting goals, de-escalation strategies, making connections through effective communication, and family engagement. They also talked about stress, anxiety awareness, triggers, management, and mindfulness. Additionally, they were able to learn about other classroom strategies like keeping students engaged, positive reinforcement, and more.   

Ashlee Brady

Ashlee Brady, DeLeon Elementary School 3rd Grade Teacher for the 2022-2023 school year, had attended and enjoyed the conference last year but felt that VISD went above and beyond for the Connect Conference 2022. “This one was like a hundred and fifty times better,” said Brady. “I just feel so much more ready.” 

One of Brady’s main takeaways from the conference was that she was able to make real connections over the course of the three days and that she should definitely utilize those connections going forward. ”There are people here that are passionate about teaching, that are passionate about changing the world and passionate about what they do, in general,” said Brady. “I need to make sure that I reach out to them and be more upfront about keeping those connections.” 

Baraka Hassell

Barakah Hassell, who was attending the conference for the first time, felt that the Connect Conference 2022 was just one more way that VISD has excelled in making sure their new teachers feel welcomed. “The conference was great,” said Hassell. “The district as a whole, Victoria, has just been so accommodating and hospitable since I’ve been here. I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be.” 

Hassell was also thankful that the Connect Conference gave him the opportunity to make connections with others that share an overall purpose. “We all have a common goal of helping these students learn and live the lives that they want to live and uplift and motivate them, so it feels good to be around so many people who all want the same thing.”

Jacqueline Johnson

There are a lot of exciting things that will be happening throughout the 2022-2023 school year. Jacqueline Johnson, who will be teaching kindergarten at DeLeon Elementary School this year, shared what she is most looking forward to. “I’m excited to meet my students,” Johnson said. “I know the summer has been challenging with COVID and different things going on in the world. I just want to be that person that’s there for them and to make things easier for them.”   

Good luck to all new #TeamVISD teachers this school year! The first day of school for Victoria ISD is Tuesday, August 9.