'I'm incredibly thankful:' Teachers take to the web, note team effort in students' online success

MILWAUKEE -- The men and women who dedicate themselves to educating our children are heroes who are sometimes overlooked. Now, they've been tasked with an even bigger challenge -- teaching without a classroom.

"Hi Rocketeers! Ms. Galarza here!"

Mariah Galarza

Mariah Galarza is guiding students on a journey to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. She's a kindergarten teacher at Rocketship Transformation Prep near 68th and Silver Spring.

"I have my hat, my vest, I have my binoculars. We are ready for another exploration!" Galarza said.

But, like teachers across the nation, Galarza isn't in front of a chalkboard with students looking on from their desks. Instead – they're logging in online to learn the latest lesson in reading.

Kourtney Vang

"I'm incredibly thankful for the work that our teachers and staff have done," said Kourtney Vang, founding principal of Rocketship Transformation Prep.

Vang said within 24 hours of schools closing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, her teachers met their challenge -- preparing for virtual takeoff.

"It just was a great push to be like, we're in this all together," Galarza said.

Galarza now prepares her lessons at home and uploads them to a private group for her students.

"She's been teaching me some learning," said Amia, student at Rocketship Transformation Prep. "Counting, and writing and spelling."


Kindergarten student Amia has adapted well to the changes.

Mariah Galarza

"I look at data from the day before and celebrate," Galarza told FOX6 News.

Amia also looks forward to the one-on-one time she still receives from her teacher.

"Good morning Amia, awesome job meeting both of your goals last week, hunny!" Galarza said in a video message to Amia.

Iesha Wilborn and daughter, Amia

Iesha Wilborn -- Amia's mom -- said the uplifting clips have kept her daughter motivated.

"She gets real excited," Wilborn said. "She's ready to do her work, she's ready to hit the next goal."

A team effort, that has kept children growing.

"For teachers to have to turn their classrooms upside down and now have to figure out how to do this online, is really incredible," Vang said.

Rocketship Transformation Prep

"I love what I do and it just proved to me that just because the building is closed that learning didn't stop," Galarza said.

To cap off the year, Rocketship plans to host a car parade for families and drive through graduations for Pre-K and Kindergarten students -- keeping this school community together, while apart.