Personal Narrative: My Experience At Cesar Batalla School

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The key informant for this interview was Diane Pecora, a paraprofessional at Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport. Cesar Batalla is an elementary school, grades K-8, and is south of the Hallow. Many of the Hollow resident’s children attend Cesar Batalla School.
• Tell me about your role as a paraprofessional at Cesar Batalla School?
I have been a paraprofessional for eighteen years for the Bridgeport School system. Prior to working at Cesar Batalla, I worked at Elias Howe School. A paraprofessional is basically a teacher’s aide. I help with anything that needs to be done. I am a paraprofessional for Kindergarten, so there is a lot of helping to do.
• What can you tell me about the students who attend school at Cesar Batalla?
Most of the students are minorities: Black, Hispanic, and Asian. They come from very poor families, it is very sad. What is even sadder is that most children, even the ones in Kindergarten are in the early morning program that begins at 7:30AM, they go to school all day, and are in the after school program until 6PM. I find many of the parents don’t care and have little to do with
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I learned more about the city that I work in and love. The Hollow neighborhood is a densely populated, impoverished, ethnic community in the center of Bridgeport, Connecticut. There is a feeling of urban decay in the neighborhood, along with violence and gang activity. There is no playgrounds or open space in the Hollow to enjoy outdoor actives. The Hollow is a food desert and many in the community are subject to food insecurity. There are problems with both obesity, hunger, and respiratory illness. Despite the problems see in the Hollow, there is a sense community from the health clinics, churches, urban gardens and food kitchens. The Windshield Survey assignment was a great learning experience. I learned more about the city of Bridgeport where I work and were generations of my family have

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