Las Américas ASPIRA Academy

Message from the Head of School

Dear ASPIRA Students and Families,


Welcome back to school!  We are excited to begin the 2018-2019 school year.  Can you believe this is our 8th school year!  It seems like yesterday that we were opening our school for the first year.  Our school has grown and changed in so many ways over those years.  We know that change can sometimes be hard, but change is a natural and necessary process that also presents opportunities.  The following is an introduction to our 2018-2019 grade level teams, new programs/procedures, and reminders for this school year:


Introducing the Kindergarten Team

§  Garcia, Giselle

English Immersion Teacher (K-1A)

§  Graboski, Grace

Paraprofessional (K-1ª)

§  Negrón, Jeannie

Spanish Immersion Teacher (K-1B)

§  Figueroa, Evelyn

Paraprofessional (K-1B)

§  Koronik, Jessica

English Immersion Teacher (K-2B)

§  Griggs, Jennifer

Special Education Teacher (K-2B)

§  Dominguez, Kimberly

Paraprofessional (K-2B)

§  Núñez, Nayeli

Spanish Immersion Teacher (K-2ª)

§  Cardona, Mical

Paraprofessional (K-2ª)

§  Laughlin, Emily




Introducing the 1st Grade Team

§  Markle, Jenny

English Immersion Teacher (1-1A)

§  Perez, Mirna

Spanish Immersion Teacher (1-1B)

§  Fassano, Maggie

English Immersion Teacher (1-2A)

§  Blackwell, Jennifer

Special Education Teacher (1-2A)

§  Perez, Jasmin

Spanish Immersion Teacher (1-2B)

§  Fana-Ruiz, Keaira




Introducing the 2nd Grade Team

§  Kostoff, Lauren

English Immersion (Language & Literacy)

§  Burton, Tiffany

English Immersion (Math, Science, Social Studies)

§  Garcia, Dana

Spanish Immersion (Language & Literacy)

§  Paoli, Christine

Spanish Immersion (Math, Science, Social Studies)

§  Ball, Ashley

Special Education Teacher

§  Hall, Dana


§  Tilghman, Herman




Introducing the 3rd Grade Team

§  Urquhart, Sade

Spanish Immersion (Language & Literacy)

§  Magaña, Diana

Spanish Immersion (Math, Science, Social Studies)

§  Darragh, Kerianne

English Immersion (Language & Literacy)

§  Wahl, Jennifer

English Immersion (Math, Science, Social Studies)

§  Cipolla, Allison

Special Education Teacher

§  Garibay-Garcia, Marisela




Introducing the 4th Grade Team

§  Hilmer, Amanda

English Immersion (Math, Science, Social Studies)

§  Padilla, Geisa

Spanish Immersion (Math, Science, Social Studies)

§  Castiglione, Nicole

English Immersion (Language & Literacy)

§  Somoano, Ana

Spanish Immersion (Language & Literacy)

§  Dankel, Alison

Special Education Teacher



Introducing the 5th Grade Team

§  Alicea, Rosa

Spanish Immersion (Math, Science, Social Studies)

§  Bredimus, Alison

English Immersion (Math, Science, Social Studies)

§  Rivera, Brenda

Spanish Immersion (Language & Literacy)

§  Hartman, Brenda

English Immersion (Language & Literacy)

§  Peterson, Phyllis

Special Education Teacher

§  Lucero-Pina, Ariadne




Introducing the Middle School Team

§  Burris, Michele

Math 6th & 7th

§  Carmack, Elyse

Math 7th & 8th 

§  Cozza, Carolina

Spanish Humanities 7th & 8th

§  Florian, Nicole

English Humanities 7th & 8th

§  Forbes, Jessie

QUEST/English Humanities 6th

§  Herbert, John

Science 7th & 8th

§  Hinspeter, Melissa

Science 6th & 7th /AVID

§  Jefferis, Sarah

Math Enrichment

§  Labanda, Nancy

English Humanities 7th / AVID

§  Otero, Ingrid

Spanish Humanities 6th & 7th / AVID

§  Swift, Sarah

English Humanities  Enrichment

§  Figueroa, Thalia

AVID Paraprofessional



Introducing the Specials Team

§  Espiritu, Justine

Elementary Music Choir (Elem. & MS)

§  Cardona, Ana


§  Heacock, Heather


§  Freeth, David


§  Fortunato, Corey


§  Fornoff, Julia


§  Flachier, Megan


§  Schuck, Jennifer




Important Information


REMIND:  We are excited to share that Las Américas ASPIRA Academy is rolling out Remind school-wide.  Most of our parents used REMIND last year.  For new families, if you're not already familiar with Remind, it's a classroom communication tool that makes it easy to stay involved with your child's learning. Remind is free to use, and you'll be able to receive and send messages on any device—even a simple text message from your phone!


As part of this rollout, official accounts are being created for all the LAAA educators and parents.  During the first week of school, you will receive an email or text message from REMIND. All you need to do is follow the steps in the message to finish setting up your account.  It is critical that you set up your account in order to receive important school-wide messages and school bus information.  We're excited to make connecting with our families more engaging!


New Dismissal System:  We are excited to announce that we are going to use an automated car dismissal system in ASPIRA this year called CarRiderPro. 


What is CarRider Pro?

  • The CarRider Pro system is designed to streamline the pickup process for schools when students are released at the end of the school day.
  • It utilizes discretely encoded vehicle tags that are assigned to each student in the CarRider Pro system and is cross-referenced to parents or guardians that are responsible for their pickup after school each day.
  • It automatically detects each tag as it enters the pickup zone and identifies all students linked to it.
  • It displays each student’s name on ASPIRA computer displays, in real time, in proper sequence with the vehicles in the pickup line.
  • How does CarRider Pro work?
  • The CarRider Pro system software is proprietary and is hosted on our secure web server.
  • It uses no personal student or guardian information.
  • School team members can access the CarRider Pro database through an ASPIRA computer link after entering their user name and password.
  • Each school has control over and maintains its own CarRider Pro database.
  • It allows school staff to utilize hand-held devices such as tablet computers or smart phones to make on the fly additions or adjustments to the assemblage of students.


CarRider Pro Vehicle Tags

  • Parents with students marked as dismissal car riders will receive two vehicle hangtags.
  • Hangtags must be hanging on the rear-view mirror of the car. The car rider bar code should be facing the driver. The other side that contains a car rider number should be facing the windshield.
  • The hangtags do not contain student or parent information. However, parents must report any lost hangtag.  Replacement or additional vehicle tags are $5.00 each.
  • Vehicles may start entering the school’s back parking lot at 3:00pm. The CarRider Pro reader will NOT read any cars entering the school before 3:00 pm. As a result, the student(s) of vehicle tags not read will be dismissed last.



Margie López Waite, Head of School