Maria Polanco, Classroom Assistant, John H. Webster Elementary School

Ms. Polanco was born and raised in The Dominican Republic. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Social Work and started her education career in 2006 in NYC. In 2012, she moved to Philadelphia and started working for the District.

“Like many immigrants, I came to this country with my luggage full of dreams and illusion. I have always heard that all you need to bring to America is a dream,” Ms. Polanco said.

We asked Ms. Polanco some of our favorite questions:

What are the joys of being a Latinx/Hispanic? 
Working with vulnerable children is the most immense joy of my career. I love that they can see me as somebody they can trust. Also, I am grateful to help somebody in need when translation is needed.

What are the challenges you’ve overcome as a Latinx/Hispanic in the District or in general? 
The biggest challenger I have overcome is dealing with language barriers with parents, students, and even colleagues.

How do you honor your heritage and culture inside or outside of work? 
I hare my culture with my colleagues by bringing delicious Dominican food prepared by me. Also outside of work, I am proud that my three children and my grandchild can speak and read in my native language, Spanish.

What is your favorite thing about your culture/heritage? 
My favorite things about my culture/ heritage are the people. We are so full of joy and happiness. Also, the food and the music, Merengue to be exact.

Ms. Polanco, thank you for your service to the School District of Philadelphia and your commitment to Philadelphia’s students!