Jessica Baldizon MA’15 Recognized With Bridgeport Public Education Fund Inspiration Award for Outstanding Teaching

Jessica Baldizon MA’15 Recognized With Bridgeport Public Education Fund Inspiration Award for Outstanding Teaching

Baldizon is a long-time supporter of Fairfield University and the School of Education and Human Development and is dedicated to supporting pre-K-12 youth in the classroom and beyond.

Jessica Baldizon MA’15 with her parents.

Baldizon is a long-time supporter of Fairfield University and the School of Education and Human Development and is dedicated to supporting pre-K-12 youth in the classroom and beyond.

I am very grateful for the recognition, not only for me, but for my mother, my father, my Abuelitos who instilled in me a love for learning and curiosity for the world, for the mentors I’ve had along the way, as well as for the Connecticut Writing Project family

— Jessica Baldizon MA’15

Jessica Baldizon MA’15 was recently named the 2022 recipient of the Bridgeport Public Education Fund Inspiration Award for Outstanding Teaching. In her role she teaches English to 84 third, fourth, and sixth-grade multilingual learners at Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport, Conn. Cesar Batalla is the second-largest pre-K-8 school in the state and Baldizon has taught there for six years since graduating from Fairfield with her master’s in TESOL.

“I started teaching at Batalla through a graduate assistantship with the Center for Social Impact. Then I did my internship at Batalla and continued here for my student teaching. I’ve really seen the school at all different levels and capacities.”

For her, being recognized is not only a reflection of her efforts but also a reflection of the efforts of the individuals and communities that have supported her along her journey as an educator.

“I am very grateful for the recognition, not only for me, but for my mother, my father, my Abuelitos who instilled in me a love for learning and curiosity for the world, for the mentors I’ve had along the way, as well as for the Connecticut Writing Project family. I am the product of all of these great forces working together.”

Baldizon is co-chair of the Fairfield Student and Teachers Empowerment Partnership (STEP) which places Fairfield students taking community-engaged learning courses in Batalla School classrooms. The partnership benefits pre-K-8 students by providing them with more individualized attention and it allows Fairfield students to complete their fieldwork requirements. Baldizon also runs Hope Club, an after-school program designed to create mentorship, build community, and offer more language learning opportunities between students at Bassick High School, Cesar Batalla, and students from Batalla in grades 5-8 who participate in the Young Ladies Book Club, a shared space for young female writers

When asked what inspires her as a teacher, Baldizon shared that it’s her students’ inquiry and curiosity.

“Their general enthusiasm and wondering about the world inspires me. When I make lesson plans I know I have to cover a certain standard and objective, but I also want to make them meaningful and relevant and present the lessons in a way that my students can connect with. During the pandemic I spent a lot of time learning new tools to create online materials. It’s tedious work but I know it will pay off.”

Another large part of Baldizon’s life is The Connecticut Writing Project’s Ubuntu Academy which she’s been involved with since the beginning. The two-week summer writing course is designed for immigrant and refugee youth in grades 9 - 12. The students engage in community building and teamwork activities and they work on becoming comfortable writing about the world around them. Baldizon also runs Little Labs for Big Imaginations, a program for students in grades 3 - 5 with the Connecticut Writing Project’s literacy labs. The program offers her another avenue to fine-tune her teaching and creatively and explore new ways of teaching.

“By being involved in so many different communities I’ve been able to have a more enriching career. If I didn’t have those communities, I don’t think I would feel personally as uplifted and impactful.”

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Last modified: 06-09-22 1:08 PM

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