Teachers and students at Antonio Del Buono Elementary School got difficult news this past month when they were told that the campus will close at the end of the school year in June 2020.
That’s when Nicole Munoz, who teaches a grade 2-3 combination class, decided to make this year the best one possible for her students. The class had been finishing up its participatory government unit when Munoz invited a special guest to the classroom.
Mayor Roland Velasco joined the students’ lesson on Sept. 27 and was a big hit. He took questions from students, explained his role as mayor and even led a mock city council meeting.
“The class has been buzzing about it all day,” said Munoz in a statement to the Gilroy Dispatch. “The visit really made them feel special.”
Displayed at the front of her classroom were photos of California’s elected leaders and the state and local representatives for Munoz’s class. Above a photo of Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sen. Kamala Harris was a photo of Velasco.
The mayor talked to the class about the Gilroy City Charter and the duties of the mayor; he explained that being the mayor of a city was like being President of the United States.
Later in the lesson, Velasco selected students to be a part of a mock city council meeting, where the group discussed the benefits of less homework and longer recess for the tradeoff of year-round school. The impromptu “council meeting” also included students role-playing as disgruntled constituents pleading their case.
Following the lesson, many of the students remarked about the difficulties of making decisions that left some of their classmates unhappy and how hard it was to make the right choice.
Overall, Velasco’s visit was a success for the class, bringing Munoz’s lesson plan to life.
“The impending closure of our school at the end of the year weighs heavy on all of us at AD, and I really just want this year to be the best for my class,” Munoz wrote in an email to the Dispatch. “We are in a different category being a combo, and being a combo at a school about to close its doors at the end of the year. Isn’t this the best time to go above and beyond for my students?”