Hernandez aims to build welcoming culture as new mastery lab assistant

Darina Lubenov, Editor-in-Chief

Whether they’re there for a tutoring session or just to say hello, Leilani Hernandez says she’ll always be happy to see students. 

“I’m always excited for students to stop by and ask questions,” Hernandez said. “I will be more than happy to answer them.”

At the start of the 2021-22 school year, Hernandez was named the head resource assistant of the mastery lab tutoring center at Elk Grove.

Before Elk Grove, Hernandez graduated from Illinois State University in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in science and technology to teach physical education. Because this is Hernandez’s first year in education, she said everything for her is a learning and growing experience.

“[Retired mastery lab resource assistant] Mrs. [Susan] Montemayor ran a very tight ship, and this is my first year in education so everything I’m doing right now is a learning experience,” Hernandez said.

The mastery lab at Elk Grove is a resource for students to receive help from their peers and teachers who are either taking or teaching the same course in which they need help. The job description of resource assistant, previously held by Montemayor, is to help and care for the students receiving tutoring assistance.

Last year’s mastery lab was based online, with tutors teaching from home on Zoom.

Now that students are in-person, the mastery lab moved from its previous home in the library to the computer lab. The mastery lab operates before, during and after school.

Hernandez provides assistance to students through assigning tutors to students in particular subjects. She also checks grades and wants to maintain a safe and friendly environment for anyone who comes in and out of the lab.

“One important thing is that if you’re nervous to come and ask for help, that’s OK,” Hernandez said. “This school year is new to almost everybody and that’s all right because I’m new here and we can figure it out together.”