A KCI Impact Interview Featuring Jesus Huerta
November 8, 2022
“My goal is to show teachers that the classroom can go beyond pencil and paper. With a focus on innovation (educators) allow students access to the next level of technology. The hope is students will learn how to be entrepreneurs, gain interest in STEAM and understand the design process.” – Jesus Huerta
Recently, we interviewed one of our KCI instructors, Jesus Huerta, asking him to share the impact that KCI has had on his personal life and the educators he reaches as an instructor. Jesus, a 9th-year teacher, is also an instructional coach in four sites in Calexico Unified School District. His core focus is supporting the makerspaces at those sites and supporting innovation in all classrooms.
KCI: How has the KCI impacted you professionally?
JESUS: The biggest thing that the KCI has done for me is to make me feel empowered! I learned to work with people and meet them where they are at. KCI facilitators structure courses in a way that allows teachers to take it back to their classroom that very day. The KCI Community has always made me feel like a stronger teacher because I can get hands-on experience with technology.
For example, I was able to learn about and use 3D printers through KCI’s programs, and then I worked to get them for my district teachers and students. I started a STEAM Club in my district, which gave so many students creative licenses. When my district closed due to COVID, I didn’t want learning to stop. So I worked with my district leaders to ensure the printers could go home with the kids. Our district is in a border town between the US and Mexico, and many families travel back and forth across the border. I supported families and students in building their own 3D printers at home during the pandemic. As a result, we now have students who want to be engineers and who have confidence and curiosity because of this experience.
KCI has helped me with my own confidence to try out new and innovative things, and I love sharing that feeling with students and other teachers.
KCI: How do you see the KCI impacting educators throughout the state of CA?
JESUS: "I think KCI is years ahead of other institutions."
The KCI has so much to offer California educators. Every program gives educators something they can use the next day. As I mentioned before, programs are designed to grow participants’ confidence. It comes from knowing how to use things (i.e., 3D printers) and applying them to the classroom. Additionally, you get a “teacher vision” that allows you to see the big picture of impact like no one else sees. This comes from collaborating with other educators and using tools that are on the cutting edge in workplaces.
KCI: What are you most excited about this school year and beyond for innovation?
JESUS: This year, I am most excited about our push toward creating makerspaces throughout our school district. I am assisting with the design and research equipment with the hope of getting as much out of our budget as possible. The response from students has been incredible so far, and we are just getting started! My goal with this project is to show teachers that the classroom can go beyond pencil and paper, focusing on innovation and allowing students access to next-level technology. The hope is that students will learn how to be entrepreneurs, gain interest in STEAM, and understand the design process.
KCI: How can others get involved with the KCI? As an educator? As a donor?
JESUS: The way everyone can get involved is by attending a virtual or in-person experience with KCI. That way, they really understand the amazing things happening here. They can also help by sharing their experiences via social media so that others can “see” what a successful program is.
For donors, I would say come and experience how your donation is being used. I believe this will help you understand the power of your giving and also help you explain to other potential donors why they should donate also. I hope this will cause a chain reaction to start where donors visit AND experience learning at KCI.
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