Ms. Sarah Barnes Begins New Life In Tucson In 21st Century

By Ernesto Estopellan

On the first day of the 21st Century (Jan. 1, 2001), Ms. Sarah Barnes, one of the most visibly new employees at Pueblo High School this school year, arrived in Tucson from the East Coast, serving as a multi-tiered systems facilitator to help teachers learn new strategies to help increase our students’ test scores—as well as boost the overall morale at Pueblo.

Late last semester, Barnes was the primary speaker for our entire student population during a cohort meeting, stressing responsible cell phone behavior and other important social media advice.

“I want to get to know everybody at Pueblo,” Barnes said. “I want to know our students, the teachers, work with administrators and I want people to ask questions because I have a lot of questions to ask. In the short time that I’ve been here, I can tell that this school has a heart and soul.”

Barnes was born in Delaware in 1977, and while visiting Tucson, she fell in love with the weather, so she transferred from the University of Delaware to the University of Arizona.

“Moving here [to Tucson] was like getting out of jail,” Barnes said. “It was liberating to get out of Delaware for many personal reasons.”

She explained that education was not her first choice for a career. In fact, Barnes said that she studied criminology and even considered joining the police academy.

“Somehow my focus changed to education when I met somebody who suggested that I become a teacher,” Barnes said. “That somebody was our assistant principal Frank Rosthenhausler.”

She taught math for more than a dozen years before becoming interested in becoming a multi-tiered systems facilitator.

“I want to be a positive influence at Pueblo,” Barnes said. “I’m here for just about everybody—especially our students. But, I want teachers to know, too, that I wholeheartedly support them in every way possible.”

Barnes helps recognize students’—and teachers’!—perfect attendance this school year, printing achievement certificates for them.

“Everybody is a star at Pueblo,” she said.

Ms. Rachel Apalategui ‘Checks In’ With Attendance Office

By Esperanza Landeros

After the sudden retirement of registrar Ms. Marina Ordoñez last summer, a new Warrior comes to the rescue to fill that position: Ms. Rachel Apalategui—who actually knew Ordoñez for many years prior to coming to Pueblo.

Apalategui is no stranger to Tucson Unified School District. She has worked at multiple schools, including Grijalva Elementary School, Pistor Middle School, Tucson High Magnet School and now at Pueblo.

“So far, I really do enjoy being here,” Apalategui said. “Pueblo people are very sweet, and our students are very, very kind.”

Coming to Pueblo has been somewhat of a bittersweet transition, Apalategui admitted. She spent 14 years at Tucson High, which she said kept her “grounded”.

“To be honest, I was really homesick [for Tucson High] in my first few weeks of being at Pueblo,” Apalategui said. “However, I have no regrets at all at this time, but coming here was a really huge change. I was used to more than 3,200 students compared to half of that number at Pueblo.” She paused and said, “I do love the smaller numbers.”

To be a high school registrar requires a great deal of communication and diplomacy, Apalategui explained. For example, this spring, she has to ensure that seniors have sufficient credits to graduate, and that can be very frustrating. She added that she has to have a frequent dialogue with counselors to make sure every senior is on track to graduate—and how to help every senior graduate in May.

“My advice to students—and especially to seniors this semester—is to make an appointment with their counselors to make a plan to best suit their chances of graduating on time,” she said. “Nothing is more tragic than seniors waiting until the last few weeks before graduation only to realize that they are missing one credit or even one-half credit—and not graduating until summer.”

Although her office walls are a bit bare, they won’t be for long, Apalategui insisted.

“Pueblo is home now,” she said.

Welcome, Ms. Janet Olvera! (Déjà Vu?)

By Iram Arce

Ms. Janet Olvera

Among the more than two dozen new teachers and staff members new to Pueblo High School this school year is Ms. Janet Olvera, Pueblo’s Data Intervention Specialist—to interpret data to assist teachers in developing specific interventions to improve student learning. Even though this job may be new to Olvera, Pueblo is hardly new to her—as she graduated from P.H.S. back in 1997.

Olvera is joining the Warrior teaching/staff family with many years of educational experience. She taught elementary students at Henry Oyama and Lynn Urquides Elementary Schools. Then, she spent another three years at Pistor Middle School as a counselor after earning her master’s degree from the Northern Arizona University.

“I loved teaching [elementary students],” Olvera said, “but I really prefer working with students one-on-one, which is why I prefer counseling students. I like helping students with their academic, social and emotional needs.”

Olvera said that it’s no accident that she was steered in the field of education.

“I had great teachers at Pueblo back in the mid-1990s,” she said. “I can’t believe that a lot of my teachers are still here. I definitely remember Ms. Avila-Miranda, my math teacher. She sure had a lot of patience. Even though I was always respectful of teachers, I probably gave her a harder time than I’d like to admit. I remember laughing a lot in my classes—just having fun but always learning.”

She paused and added, “I also learned a lot in Mr. [Steve] Lopez’ math class! I never knew math could be taught with such enthusiasm and creativity.”

Olvera said that she also remembers Ms. [Wilma] Amaro, Ms. [Lydia] Morales, Mr. [Cristobál] Santa Cruz and Ms. [Dr. Maria] Bicknell and added that she is glad they’re all still teaching because they all made such huge impacts on her.

“Mr. [Rana] Medhi was my favorite teacher at Pueblo, though,” Olvera said. “Everything I know about English, I learned in his class. I can’t even write a letter without thinking of him and everything he taught me. He definitely left a lasting impression on me, and it was so good to see him again.”

Olvera also expressed that Pueblo Principal Dr. Augustine Romero has been extremely supportive.

“Dr. Romero is definitely the best administrator that I’ve ever worked for,” Olvera said. “He values and respects his teachers and staff members. It’s like being part of a family here at Pueblo, and I love that community feeling here.”

As for being back at Pueblo, Olvera said, “Some things never change—surprisingly, Pueblo is about the same as it was in the 1990s when I was a student here—minus students’ dependency on technology.”

Several years after graduating from high school, Olvera said that she had a few dreams about returning to Pueblo.

“Somehow, I always knew I’d be back here,” Olvera said.

Freshmen Continue To Cause Most Altercations At Pueblo

By Britney Carreon (Beginning Journalism)

Assistant Principal Frank Rosthenhausler at Pueblo High School announced that the amount of physical altercations this year has stayed “relatively the same as last year and the year before that.”

At the beginning of this school year, last August, the disciplinary action for fights changed from just having a three-day suspension. After November, this TUSD policy changed to having a “Big F”, which is a code to indicate the severity of a fight, which usually results in a student being suspended for three days. A “Little F” is a code that results in a three-day in-school suspension, usually requiring a student to spend those days with Mr. Mario Reyes, Pueblo’s ATS (Alternative To Suspension) teacher.

However, if there are any threats on Facebook, and this becomes public on school campus, this offense will have to be counted as a school threat, resulting in more severe consequences, Rosthenhausler said.

According to Rosthenhausler, there were approximately 17 total fights this school year.

He said that freshmen continue to cause the most drama on campus, and they make up the majority of physical altercations at Pueblo. Rosthenhausler said that the primary excuse for most fights was girls fighting over boys.

“The old cliché of ‘girls getting cheated on and wanting to fight the other girls’ is very common,” he said.

Rosthenhausler added, “Kids who don’t have issues resolved during their elementary and middle school years often bring those unresolved issues with them to high school.”

“When I first got to Pueblo, about five years ago, , I didn’t think there would be a lot of violence, but that quickly changed. These disciplinary problems are sometimes overwhelming.”

According to Mr. Mario Reyes, there are ways that Pueblo can reduce the number of altercations.

“With the restorative practice—which is detecting an issue before the situation gets out of hand—and finding quick ways to resolve these issues, we can minimize the number of altercations,” Reyes said. “We can also increase awareness of tensions and have more respect for one another, which would really help to ease tensions.”

Job Opportunities Open For Warriors

by Paula Fierros

Last month, 45 Pueblo juniors and seniors contacted school nurse Ms. Kate Straub about the Pima Prevention Program, which could provide them with a job opportunity working with Pima County.

According to Straub, joining the program could benefit students who are in need of a job and/or are interested in an array of different fields, such as law, medicine and law enforcement.

Straub said that this program is preferred for students who meet the following requirements: they should speak English as a second language, get free or reduced lunch or come from families where they are the first to graduate from high school or the first to apply to college.

She added that there are only 45 spots to fill; students need to fulfill criteria with age, credits and grades.

Only 45 juniors and seniors between the ages of 16 and 21 can be a part of the Pima Prevention Program, Straub said. She added that students must have at least 12 credits in order to be eligible and need to be on track to graduate.

Students will train for this position on Tuesdays and Thursdays and one Saturday a month. In the end, they will be guaranteed a paying job at Pima County during the Summer of 2017.

“The training will be from 3:30-5:30 and will be held in the special projects room and Mr. Reyes’ room,” said Straub. “Saturdays will be half day.”

Straub recommends that this program could also benefit students who are unsure about career plans.

“Students who are accepted into the program will meet with professionals in different careers and will be able to ask questions and be exposed to professionals’ work,” Straub said. “Students will also participate in field trips and get free training in First Aid and CPR.”

The Pima Prevention Program will determine which students are eligible according to their job applications.

Pueblo Welcomes Back Mr. Alcantara

By Iram Arce

Mr. Baltazar Alcantara

A former Pueblo Magnet High School language arts teacher, Mr. Baltazar Alcantara, has once again become a Warrior.  After eleven years, we welcome him back as our new English Learning Development (ELD) coordinator.

“I really feel as if I’m back home,” he said.

Alcantara explained that one of his primary functions in his new position is job is to ensure that the school is compliant for English Language Learners (ELL’s).

“My goal is to make sure that the students can take an equal part in this country,” he said.

After leaving Pueblo for more than a decade, Alcantara said that he had brief “homes” at Valencia Middle School and Catalina High School, but he knew that Pueblo truly felt like home the most when he returned.

“It’s [being at Pueblo] almost as if I’m living with cousins,” he said.

In the first quarter of this school year, Alcantara said that one of his goals was the build trust relationships with students, and he said that he definitely achieved this goal.

“I will work here for as long as there is need,” Alcantara said. “What appears to be difficult is always a lot bigger in your mind. You don’t realize that you can actually achieve something so great and awesome until you actually commit to its completion.”