NELA Students: Voice & Choice

It’s back to school week here!  Darilyn Hackett, principal of Nueva Esperanza Learning Academy (NELA), asked her teachers some important questions just before the first day of school: “What will you be doing this year to spark your students’ interest in learning? How will you give them voice and choice?” The answers from the teachers gave her a wonderful glimpse into some of the exciting things NELA has in store for our students in 2019-20.


Miss Elsinghorst plans to use creative play and learning games to capture the attention of her students. The repetition used in game play lends itself to retention of new concepts. She will be giving her students choice during her reading instruction time through the use of centers. Miss Elsinghorst plans to have a variety of activities for students to choose from—all aligning to the same standard—so that students can learn through the method that suits them best.

1-2 Class:

Mrs. Hernandez plans to teach new concepts this year through the use of anchor charts and songs in order to create interactive learning through stimulating both the visual and auditory senses. During her Bible study time, she is going to be allowing the students to choose what they would like to talk about periodically—as she encourages them to share their own devotionals.

3-5 Class:

Mrs. Romero plans to have lunchtime meetings with individual students in order to build connections with them. She wants to get to know their personal interests and the things they are passionate about. Knowing her students deeply will give Mrs. Romero insight into topics she can work into her curriculum that will make learning more meaningful for them. She also plans to allow her students to choose how they would like to practice mindfulness each week. Examples of this could be breathing techniques, yoga, mindfulness word games, etc.

Middle School:

Mrs. Hedlund and Mrs. Beck plan to do thematic units encompassing Social Studies, English Language Arts, Music, and Art. As part of this curriculum, they want to take their students to various art exhibits throughout the Tri-Cities including the Allied Arts Gallery, Kat Millicent Studio, The Glass Punty, and Richland Farmer’s Market. They will have the chance to view various media and techniques. With this knowledge, Mrs. Beck’s art students will be given the choice of deciding which sort of media they would like to work with throughout their various units.

Story of Impact: Meet Karrah Garcia, NELA staff

NELA has been a tremendous blessing to my children and me.  We are so eager to see what the new school year will bring. Becoming a Para for NELA has brought so many opportunities and spiritual growth into my life. I have been able to experience life-changing trainings that have helped me connect with our students and build strong relationships within our NELA family. To me, when I think of being back to work, I feel like I’m back with my little family and that in itself is amazing. Our children grow so much from when they start their first day of school until they graduate.

When they are exposed to love, understanding, and a genuine connection with staff, they have that much more chance for success as people, in their careers, and in life in general.   My own children are blessed to attend NELA, where they are exposed to real life learning, not just the basics. They have experienced many adventures that will stay with them forever. The fact that both my kids have been able to be nurtured in and grow their spiritual wellbeing is truly a blessing. NELA allows the children to learn at the level they are on and within their pace which, in turn, keeps their stress levels and worries low, and lets them truly learn the given curriculum with much more ease. It is life changing for our children, our future leaders of the world, to be exposed to this type of learning and leadership. NELA is a blessing to those who experience this education and all that is offered here.

Photos from the first day of school at NELA

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