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Child Development Central - Central hires former DVHS interns through CTE program partnership

Child Development Central - Central hires former DVHS interns through CTE program partnership
Christian Aleman-Rodriguez

Two recent DVHS graduates are leading the way for students behind them who want to start their careers in education right after graduation.

Raquel Valladares and Matthew Hanlin just graduated in May 2023, and they’re already employed full-time after completing DVISD’s CTE education pathway in high school. Both graduates are now employed at the new Central Child Development Center, making them the first to build the classroom-to-classroom pipeline for future educators in DVISD.

“It's been great. I love the community. All of my coworkers, they’re all really nice, and it really is kind of like a family,” Raquel said of the staff at the Central CDC. “We make sure we all work together, and the kids are amazing.”

In the CTE education pathway, students take specialized classes throughout their time in high school and culminate the experience by receiving their teacher’s aide certificate, allowing them to work in classrooms with students. Starting their junior year, students in the program begin internships at Del Valle Elementary. That’s how Raquel and Matthew started.

“We were at DVE, and it was different because we got to move around more. So I dealt with fourth and fifth graders and third graders and electives. I even moved to a first grade classroom. You see that each grade level was different, and it’s really eye-opening. Each teacher taught their own way; each class learned its own way, and everybody was different. There's never the same teacher,” Matthew said. 

During their senior year, the two had the opportunity to intern at the Central CDC along with their classmates. It was a new avenue to explore in the field of education for the CTE students, and both were eager for the chance to work with infants and toddlers to learn more about the career path. 

For Raquel, the decision to intern at the Central CDC was easy, although she was unsure about the career path at the time. She said her mother has worked as a childcare provider for years and even taught her about the job. Matthew had grown up around younger siblings and family members, which motivated him to explore the career option. 

“I just really loved seeing how important this job is because you're helping a child develop and be the best person they can be,” Raquel said. “So it's really fun seeing them grow and helping them grow.” 

Both young adults say they’re happy to work at the Central CDC officially and hope to stay in the field. They aspire to attend college and study education in the future.

“Opportunities to actually go and do an internship really help you decide if this is what you want to do and give you opportunities to see it in multiple different ways,” Matthew said of the CTE pathway. “If you wanted to go work at an elementary school, high school, or middle school, or even before that, a preschool, it gives you that option to really see what all is available.”

CDC employees Raquel and Matthew pose for a photo with a preschooler
CDC employee Matthew sits with preschoolers on ground during recess
CDC employee Matthew pushes a preschooler around on a bike during recess
CDC employee Raquel works with preschooler
Raquel sits with her CDC coworkers in a circle with students as they sing to them