Thanks to Diana Lopez’s creativity and innovative instructional strategies, third graders arrive at Texas’ BASIS San Antonio Primary Medical Center excited about the day’s events. Lopez inspires her students to achieve greatness, instilling a strong work ethic, holding them to the highest expectations and never letting them settle for mediocrity. Her classroom is full of laughter as students sample new stories and check items out from the class library at “book tastings.” Lopez and her students dress in costumes representing abstract language concepts like idioms, metaphors and hyperbole. The school has a large contingent of English learners whom Lopez supports with interventions, weekly student hours and frequent communication. Her methods deliver—last year, 97% of her students passed the state’s STAAR reading assessment, meeting or exceeding the state’s standards for the assessment.
Lopez leads the school’s third grade team of ELA teachers and mentors the humanities and English teachers on campus. She developed curriculum now used by 30 schools in the BASIS Charter network. During the pandemic, Lopez created presentations, worksheets, videos and more for colleagues as they transitioned to online instruction. She is a valued resource for new teachers on campus, helping them understand curriculum, develop classroom management skills and fit into the school culture.
Lopez goes to great lengths to familiarize herself with her students, knowing those relationships will make it easier to reach and help them. Alongside academics, Lopez talks about inclusivity and compassion and actively works to meet the individual needs of each student. She explains that each problem is unique, and students learn in a variety of ways and need different supports.
Lopez is a graduate of St. John’s University. She holds a bachelor’s in English and philosophy (2005) and a master’s in childhood education (2011).
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