The new 2020-21 school year has been in session with new guidelines, new rules, and new methods and at some school sites new teachers and new administration within the Riverbank Unified School District. New to administration and new to Cardozo Middle School is Assistant Principal Eduina Azevedo.
She officially started at CMS on July 1 but made her way to campus prior to that to familiarize herself with the school and staff. COVID-19 has made the transition from teacher to assistant principal a bit challenging for many reasons, she added, but one thing that has been difficult is not seeing the students on a daily basis.
“It has not been terrible,” stated Azevedo about the new school year and new position. “It has been challenging. You prepare for something and you spend all this time studying and observing and preparing for something that ended up being completely different. This year has been a surprise. I don’t know what to expect. One of the main reasons I wanted to be an Assistant Principal is to still have that interaction with the students.”
With the safety concerns and guidelines from the California Department of Public Health, students are currently not allowed to attend classes in person. However, next week they will be allowing some students to return to the classroom including special education and English language learners. There will be a small group and specific guidelines that will be followed.
“I am still learning,” added Azevedo with a smile. “Several of my friends have said if you can survive this year, you will be fine for the rest of your life. That is really where I am at right now. It is a learning experience for everyone, even those that have been in the business for 20 years. We are all in the same boat.”
With 19 years in education, Azevedo began her career teaching at Fresno State prior to moving into teaching at the high school level for the past 17 years. For 10 years she taught at Stanislaus State as well as at the high school. She moved to the Central Valley from Portugal when she was 16 and has been in the area ever since.
After a colleague gave the district rave reviews and the opportunity presented itself, Azevedo decided to apply. Although there have been challenges one positive takeaway she expressed was being able to build relationships with the teachers during this time. She is able to spend time in their classrooms and has been able to sit and talk with them. The negative side is not being able to see the students in person and build those relationships, she added. The main contact with students has been over the phone, a few Zoom meetings with parents, and an occasional meeting in person.
Although it is undetermined how COVID-19 will permanently change education in the future Azevedo is hopeful that when the time is right students will be able to return to the classroom and the campus will roar with activity.
“We are all in the same boat and we are all struggling to figure out what is going on and how to survive and get past all this,” expressed Azevedo. “I am here. My line is open anytime so if they have questions or the community has questions I am here to try to help them through it. Our role has not changed. We are here to support them.”