Ms. Castilla earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History of Religion and Sociology from Oberlin College in 2006. She then went on to earn her Master of Arts degree in Teaching – Early Childhood Education from National Louis University in 2012.
Ms. Castilla joins BASIS Independent Fremont after working at BASIS Tucson for the last 4 years. Before that, Ms. Castilla taught in numerous settings including: preschool, kindergarten, first grade, and third grade. While working at BASIS Tucson, she taught first grade as a Learning Expert Teacher and last year, Ms. Castilla taught the early elementary BASIS Organizational Study Skills (BOSS) camp.
“I am excited to join BASIS Independent Fremont because they provide children with the ultimate educational experience. BASIS Independent students receive an academically challenging and well-rounded education. Not only are students challenged with their academic courses, they also receive instruction in language, physical education, and the arts on a daily basis. I could not imagine teaching anywhere else,” says Ms. Castilla. Reflecting on her student engagement techniques, Ms. Castilla shares, “Students learn the best when they are given challenging, engaging, and meaningful work with high expectations. I like to do hands-on projects and collaborative work.”
“My favorite class at BASIS Independent is the “Connections class.” During this class, we are provided the opportunity to integrate various concepts and skills learned in different classes into hands-on, project-based lessons for the students. This class affords the teacher freedom to design lessons based on the interests of the students. Recently, my students have shown a great interest in making their own books. Students were being taught about the water cycle in their science class and different features of fiction and non-fiction text in other classes. During “Connections class,” they were given the freedom to demonstrate their knowledge within the framework of the individually-created books. These books were eventually turned into a class lending library where students were able to read and enjoy the work of their classmates.”
Speaking about the BASIS Schools’ Learning Expert Teacher (LET) and Subject Expert Teacher (SET) model, Ms. Castilla shared, “With the creation of the dual teaching positions, it has been my experience that teachers are able to narrow in their focus and concentrate on their specialties. For me, the SET is able to focus on creating strong and focused lessons in their field, while the LET is the ‘glue that holds everything together.’ My favorite part of working as a LET is the collaboration with my colleagues and creating an intricate balance of the roles. It is a situation where the role of the teacher is split into two stronger parts, which creates a ‘1+1=3’ situation. It is so nice to bounce ideas off the teachers and work as a large, knowledgeable team to best help our students.”
Ms. Castilla is an avid salsa dancer and vegan!