Educator Sharpens Diversity and Student Resilience Skills at York College
York City educator and MEd candidate Jasmine Sariano is continuing her education at York College of Pennsylvania to make her an even better teacher in the classroom.
Jasmine Sariano knew in fourth grade that she was destined to teach. “It was my fourth-grade teacher who inspired me to be a teacher,” she recalls. “It was the passion that she had for her students, the relationships that she built.”
Sariano grew up in Lewisberry, York County, and graduated in 2013 from Red Land High School in West Shore School District. A 2017 graduate of Lebanon Valley College, she now teaches early childhood and special education (emotional support) in kindergarten through second grade in the York City School District.
“Over the years,” she says, “I have improved my students’ ability to self-regulate their emotions and transition independently into the general education classroom with the support of my classroom team.”
But, she's not done learning her craft. This summer, Sariano will earn her Master of Education in Diversity and Student Resilience from York College of Pennsylvania.
“My district, being in York City, is very close to York College,” she says. “My district has a really good relationship with the College.”
Growing as a teacher
In 2019, Sariano heard about the College's new Diversity and Student Resilience program and “really gravitated” to it.
“One of the things that I've really enjoyed at York College is that I'm able to apply what I learn in the classroom the next day with my students,” she adds. “It's really helped me as a teacher to grow and not to be stuck in the traditional ways of teaching.”
The program, Sariano says, deals with the students' social and emotional health, best learning strategies, evidence-based practices, and “ways that we can build on our skills as teachers.”
“We're really able to dive into the research,” she says. “Plus, this program gives us a behavioral health endorsement. It's a great incentive for teachers, something else we can put under our belts to show we have these credentials.”
Already seeing results
Although she's still a few credits shy of completing the program, Sariano says she's already seen results in her York City classroom.
“My classroom management has really improved from this experience,” she says. “My actions, my initial reactions to situations have sharpened. This class has really helped me as a teacher to think outside of the box and apply the different skills I've learned.”
That's vital, she says, in a classroom setting that keeps her connected to students for more than one academic year.
“Building relationships is the most important thing in the district,” she says. “As a primary special education teacher, I have kids for multiple years. You can really build a relationship with them and see their growth.”
Another benefit of the York College program, she adds, is the opportunity to collaborate with teachers from other schools.
“Working with teachers in other districts has been so helpful,” Sariano says. “It's been a great experience, to work beside them and collaborate...to achieve the common goal of improving our schools.”
Glad to be a guinea pig
Sariano says she's not sure yet if she'll pursue an additional postgraduate degree, but she says she’s considering York College for further education.
As for Diversity and Student Resilience, she's sure it was a good move. “I'm so glad to have been one of the guinea pigs with this program,” she says. “Going through this whole process has been very beneficial. I am very happy with the way the program was structured.”
Sariano has also spoken during York College recruitment events, serving as an ambassador for the new program.
“It's definitely not easy to be a full-time teacher and a part-time grad student,” she says. “York College recognizes those pressures and schedules, and they accommodate what we need to do. I've never had any problem communicating with them. It's been great.”