Positive Behavior is Not a Dream...It's a Plan!
A superstar teacher at Los Alisos is Reggie Snyder. She is undeniably our resident technology guru, to whom all have gone for tech assistance at one time or another, but she is so much more. She has worked at Los Alisos since 2011, after short stints at Hutchinson and Los Coyotes Middle Schools. While in college, she was an AVID tutor in high school.
Ms. Snyder's contributions to LAMS and to NLMUSD are impressive. She describes her job In her own words: "My main teaching assignment is to teach Project Lead The Way: Design and Modeling, a course to teach the design process, sketching skills, dimensioning skills, and 3D prototyping skills. Also in Project Lead The Way: Automation and Robotics which is a course to teach the fundamentals of mechanical gears, electrical inputs and outputs, and robotic programming; as well as Video Production which is a course to teach the basics of video composition, editing, and publishing. I am also the coach for our VEX competitive robotics team, where students compete to build robots and play against other teams from other school on annual challenges. Additionally, I am am member of the Los Alisos Robotics Society advisor’s board, which is a consortium of all the robotics extra-curricular activities. I also serve on the site’s Common Core Leadership team, MTSS Academic team, AVID Site Team, and PLC Site Team as the Technology Integration Lead. At the district level, I serve on the Technology Action Team as a middle school representative where I provide input on technology integration strategies district wide. Over the summer, I assist the 6th grade team with iPad distribution and student/parent training and I also present several sessions at the annual Blended Learning Summit (the 2020 initiative summer training sessions)." She also holds the distinction of being a Google Certified Educator, Level 1, and PLTW Master Teacher.
When asked what she finds most rewarding about her job, she responds, "My students are the reason I work so hard at my job because it is worth every second of planning to see them smile and have fun while learning and conquering something that they thought would be overwhelming."
When I asked her about her spare time, she responded, "What is 'spare time' you speak of?! I spend a lot of my spare time working with other teachers to try out new techniques or organize conference presentations. For example, Kelly Baker and I wrote the self-paced professional development model “Tech Trek” and have presented this model at both state and international conferences." Her hobbies include: sewing, crafting, shopping, watching movies, and spending time with her close friends and family. "My husband and I are currently working toward making our house “smart” with various automated systems and sensors that we can (ideally) control with our phones."
Speaking of PBIS incentives, Ms. Snyder is currently working on her Master's in Education, and her thesis includes action research on behavior incentive systems. The details of her system, Level Up, which she co-created with Kelly Baker are available on her class website. Her quantitive and qualitative findings are that using her system, students showed improved engagement and academic results.
It's impossible to encapsulate the lasting impact Ms. Regina Snyder has on her students in this short article. Daily, she facilitates her classes in projects that inspire students to love school. Words fall short when trying to express our appreciation for all you do for us Los Alisos.
No serious PBIS Newsletter at Los Alisos would be complete without featuring our School Counselor Sandy Van Lant, our reigning queen of positivity. Sandy started at Los Alisos in December 2003, after completing her Masters of Science in School Counseling at California State University, Long Beach in August, 2003.
When she first got married, Sandy worked as a secretary for Bechtel Power Corporation. When her children were born, she did some babysitting and typing jobs from home. Later, Sandy worked as a clerical aid at D.D. Johnston Elementary for two years, then became a mom again and stayed at home until her youngest went to college in 1995. Sandy found her passion for working with youth while helping her husband Dave do his job as a a youth pastor while he was going to college and the seminary. "We worked for ten years with middle and high school kids. I always loved those kids!" With her own kids gone to college, Sandy proved that it is never too late to pursue a career and her choice was in education, "I worked for Bellflower Unified School District as an SDC paraeducator, then at Mayfair High School as College/Career Counselor while going to Cerritos College and CSULB. I taught for two years (while getting my masters) at Huntington Beach Unified School District as a Workability Teacher, and finally came to Los Alisos in 2003. (less than 2 miles from home). AWESOME job for me."
Ms. Van Lant loves her job. "I enjoy people - a big factor in loving a job when you talk to people everyday. I talk to parents, teachers, students about school, grades, behavior, life and home issues too. I appreciate our staff caring for the lives of their students and wanting them to get help. Our school referral system to Pacific Clinics allows us to see students and families get real help for deeper issues." Characteristically modest, Sandy praises her team, "It has been awesome to have Michele [Dreiling] as Intervention Counselor and Tania [Magaña] as Intervention Teacher, with Paula Mayes - coordinating support for our school on a greater level - YEAH Team!!"
Sandy puts fun in everything she touches, "I also work with our AVID team and plan our field trips to colleges, and help with the recruiting process. Another fun thing I do. Hey, do you see a pattern here - FUN Things everyday. Yes it is difficult and painful to work with some of our kids that are broken and undone, but I feel like I am encouraging, supporting and making a difference in their lives at this critical time of their lives. I feel very blessed to be in this job at this school with such a great staff!"
A social maven, Sandy loves to plan events, "I enjoy event and party planning and like the Courtesy Club. It has always been a joy for me to have others enjoy themselves - yes I like peeps to have fun!!!" She shares this joy with our students, too. "ASB Advisor is full of life and fun things too. It is fun to see kids get excited about planning events. I meet with ASB Pres and VP each day to get our announcements together and once a week with ASB reps for our ASB meetings. We have great kids in leadership. Sometimes a lot of work, but still worth it when you see students loving it!!!" Yearly, Sandy puts on most of the big, exciting events that are so memorable to our students, like the Haunted Hall, Dances, Red Ribbon Week, College Week, and Career Day.
When it comes to PBIS, Ms. Van Lant has been an integral partner in developing this important program here at Los Alisos. When our students hear the morning positive announcement, Sandy crafted that. When they receive LoboBucks and spend them at the Lobo Store, they can thank Sandy. She plans the drawings and coordinates the prizes. Whenever something fun or positive happens at Los Alisos, Ms. Sandy Van Lant is usually behind it. We crown you Queen of Positivity!