When instruction was suspended at the Elmwood Correctional Facility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Milpitas Adult Education’s Correctional Staff—led by Principal Giuliana Brahim—began preparing for the possibility of providing remote learning to their learners.
The MAE team’s preparation and persistence, as well as well-established partnership with staff at Elmwood Correctional Facility, finally paid dividends when remote learning became a reality about a month ago.
“Every time we were almost there, we had to take a step back,” said Principal Brahim, who waited patiently until she received notice from Lieutenant Gupreet Gill to begin a remote pilot program.
“It is because of Lieutenant Gill’s vision that we are currently making a collective impact on our learners," she added. "And because we have a common agenda and a shared mission, we are able to bring virtual classes to the facility, something that is unprecedented.”
At the December 8 board meeting, Brahim was honored, along with MAE team members Kim Bravo, Mila Shcherbataya, Martin Gonzales, Gretchen Pearce, Starlene Soto, Randy Nolan, and Aven Magana. They were joined by Lieutenant Gill and Senior Management Analyst Cecilia Nuñez-Massara, who helped return instruction to Elmwood.
“Everything that we’ve been able to achieve in our facilities has been because of collaborative teamwork that has occurred and a lot of behind the scenes work,” said Lieutenant Gill, who worked in partnership with MAE to access laptops and Wifi for their learners.
The virtual pilot program, which has been implemented at the men’s minimum camp, women’s population and a housing area in the main jail, is sustainable and expandable into other locations, according to Gill.
“It’s been a real pleasure coming back and getting to see our students again and getting them engaged in our curriculum,” said Gonzales, who is a teacher in Elmwood’s general population. “It’s been a great experience so far.”
Soto, an instructor in the main jail, added: “It’s really been a joy to see the participation from the students. I am honored to be part of such a wonderful 21st century learning collaboration.”