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1st Grade

Contact Danielle LaBarre  Danielle LaBarre (510) 748-4006 ex: 5508 Teacher
Contact Mosa Mahlanza  Mosa Mahlanza Teacher
Contact Lara Weber  Lara Weber (510) 748-4006 ex: 5504 Teacher

Get to know us - Danielle LaBarre

Hello there! My name is Ms. LaBarre, also known as Ms. Alcala to RB students for the past 11 yrs. I came to Ruby Bridges Elementary the year that it opened in 2006 as a new teacher. I taught Kindergarten for 10 years and then decided to move on up to the next grade to see what was at the end of the rainbow J.  I choose to teach at Ruby Bridges because of the diversity of our school community and because of the teachers that I work alongside with. I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.

 

I became a teacher because it ran in my family and also because of my own struggles in school. I had a hard time because my teachers did not nurture my curiosity or teach with multiple intelligences in mind. I had learning differences that required a different educational approach than what was being used at my school. Where was STEAM in the early nineties? Anyway, when I graduated from high school in 2000, I started working as a tutor with AmeriCorps. I had the opportunity to work with several students, just like me as a kid, who just needed someone to have patience and find a way of teaching that matched their learning style. This was my big aha moment, when I saw what was needed and what I needed to do. I moved from southern California (Riverside to be exact) to the bay area in 2002 to finish college at San Francisco State University and the bay area became home. During college I taught reading & writing at a non-profit reading clinic in the Mission District for 4 years. After finishing college in 2004, enrolling in a teaching credential program seemed like the most natural step forward.

 

So here I am now, working at the best school in Alameda where I happen to have met my best friend and husband Mr. LaBarre who teaches 3rd grade. My hobbies include painting, singing and photography. I adore Alameda because of the weather and the speed limit! I love being able to ride my bike to work and walk everywhere for all my errands. Life is good. Oh and how could I forget to mention my dogson Max, who is such a BIG part of my life too!

Get to know us - Lara Webber

TEACHER – LARA WEBER
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I am proud to have been teaching at Ruby Bridges Elementary for almost 10 years and I’m very excited about our new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) innovative program! Teaching is my second career and my true calling. My husband and I moved to California from New York City with our one year old son and found Alameda as our new home. As I began getting involved with my son’s development, I became interested in teaching and I became a parent advocate for First Five Alameda County. I voiced concerns about the unaffordability of quality preschool and the absence of a rating system for preschools that gave families some guide for choosing where to send their child. I helped award grants to organizations offering services to families with children 0-5 years such as Fairyland in Oakland. I got my teaching credential from Patten University and continued taking many professional development classes while teaching. Then I got my M. A. in Teaching Leadership from St. Mary’s College. I researched developmentally appropriate writing programs and tested oral rehearsals and digital recordings in improving the writing of young students.
While at Ruby Bridges, I implemented the full recycling program so that we would be part of this important district initiative. By participating in this program our students are learning about science and they are also taking part in a global initiative to reverse climate change. I have served on the Student Site Council and on the Leadership Team representing first grade. In 2015, I started a program called Learning Lab 504 where I invited community members from local businesses and organizations to come and share what they did and /or to lead a project that was aligned with our common core standards and was designed for first grade students. Makani-Google, an alternative wind energy company, Delphi Marketing and Brittney Shipp of KRON-4 were some of our guests.
I am a curious person, a lifelong learner and I’m passionate about teaching. I see the potential in every student and I look for their special talents or interests in order to encourage them. I was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and I was raised by my single mom and my grandparents, who were teachers, and they basically let me figure out things by myself. It was the throw you in the deep end of the pool (after swimming lessons) to see if you can swim parenting style. My grandfather nurtured my creativity. For example, instead of buying coloring books for me, he encouraged me to make my own. I went to Millsaps College where I got a B.A. in Fine Arts. I interned at the local art museum. I traveled as much as I could with museums and art as my guides for travel and learning. As part of my college program, I studied art history in Paris after my sophomore year. Then I wrote an essay and qualified as an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in the summer after my junior year. I became a public relations assistant at the Resident Associate program in Washington, D.C. I helped out and attended all events possible at the Smithsonian and it was a life changing experience when I met my future employer, John Marion, who was the Chairman of Sotheby’s at the time. After graduating from college with a few interesting side jobs (stories for another time), I worked at Sotheby’s and then Jean Karajian Gallery. I got married and then I became a mother and took time to reevaluate what was important to me and how I wanted to live my life. That is when I began my teaching journey.
 

Hobbies
I love to draw and try to bring it to my teaching whenever possible. I also take a lot of photographs. I love to read and started a book club. We often have writers as guests to our club and it is a total pleasure. I like to be outside, to hike and to exercise.
Here’s a family photo of my son, Christopher, my husband, Rick and our chocolate Lab, Arrow.