Superintendent’s Spotlight: Roman Carrillo


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Roman Carrillo

October 15, 2023

In Ms. Aimee Urvater’s first-grade class at Park Avenue Elementary School, there is a student – Roman Carrillo – who is curious, deeply thoughtful, and demonstrates leadership qualities. 

“He comes to class ready every day and is excited about our learning,” Ms. Urvater said. “He’s excited and ready to go. And, he’s the first person to jump up if someone’s pencil box spills on the floor or someone is just feeling sad if they miss their mom or dad. He gives them a hug. He’s just insightful like that and naturally, deeply thoughtful.”

“I cheer them on when they’re sad,” he said. “And, (I help) when they miss their mom and (cheer them on) when they get an answer right.”

In first grade, Roman is demonstrating early on Portrait of a Graduate qualities, such as being a collaborator, communicator and a life-long learner. Collaborators unite those around them to achieve a common goal. Communicators connect with people who are both like and unlike them. Life-long learners don’t just love learning, they are dedicated to understanding themselves and their world more and more over time.

During center time or independent work time, when Ms. Urvater is working with students in a small group, Roman takes it upon himself to explain a task to a friend if they should forget what to do. He takes on jobs around the classroom, setting up materials for math time, and he always strives to do the right thing, she said. All of these examples show that Roman is a communicator and collaborator. 

He sets an example to others of how to behave in class to maintain learning. 

“I keep our class learning bubble safe,” Roman said. The learning bubble is an imaginary bubble around the students while they are learning where the students need to work as a team to eliminate distractions, to stay on task and to be respectful of the learning environment. “If somebody’s too close to you then the bubble will pop,” he explained. 

She also sees Roman in the early stages of becoming a life-long learner because of his ability to make connections between lessons that have transpired even weeks apart. 

“He’s always making smart connections all on his own,” she said.

Roman likes math and ELA center activities in the classroom, where students can work with friends to accomplish a common task, play a game and complete a puzzle.

“Roman is often choosing activities where he is working with partners, and I think that’s because he is such a leader and likes to help others,” Ms. Urvater said. 

Roman’s favorite subject is math. It comes very naturally to him. He has a strong number sense and handles math operations that are often challenging for his grade level. 

“I like everything about math,” he said. 

“He is such a life-long learner because he is all about making those connections,” Ms. Urvater said. “And he comes in with that natural, intrinsic desire to learn. Roman doesn’t want to give up. If he is having trouble with something or is practicing a skill, Roman takes constructive feedback and applies it right away because he naturally, intrinsically wants to succeed. That is a unique, special quality for a young learner to have.”

When he grows up, Roman said he wants to be a police officer and Ms. Urvater told Roman that she sees why he’d choose that career.

“When you say you want to be a police officer, do you know the first thing that comes to my brain?” Ms. Urvater asked Roman. “I know that police officers like to help people and what do you like to do?”

“Help people!” Roman said.

“Do you think that’s a connection?” she said.

Roman Carrillo with math blocks


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