New Berlin West Survival Guide

Teachers Share Advice With Underclassmen on How to Navigate The Chaotic Halls of NBW.


Alex Kaja and Dan Tiwari

Lots of us have struggled to adapt to the new learning environment, mostly because we have been under different circumstances because of COVID-19. Due to these changes, some of our underclassmen here at New Berlin West are still transitioning to the more mature school environment. 

Since we understand how difficult it can be to try and figure things out on your own, we have interviewed teachers from each department for advice that they have to help underclassmen navigate the perceivably scary hallways. There’s a fun fact from each department as well to allow students to learn more about the teachers guiding them throughout their day.

Here are their responses:

English Department:

For Mrs. Perreault, “the best day imaginable is a day when everyone listens, everyone completes the work, and everyone does the best work possible following the directions, all without complaining and with a touch of enthusiasm.”

Her favorite thing to do in class is share some of her favorite books with her students. “I love watching the kids lean in subconsciously for an exciting part of a book I am reading to them,” she said. “I love watching my whole class jump in unison for the jump scare in the Star Trek episode we watch in 7th grade.”

A fun fact about Mrs. Perreault is that her profile picture is always of her doing a handstand. If you check her email, she currently has a picture of her doing a handstand by the fieldhouse, how fun!

In general Mrs. Perreault believes, “Everyone needs to be kind. We are all in this together. Always give your best and never give up.”

  • Mrs. Perreault

Science Department:

Ms. Voigt sees curiosity amongst her students as they talk through their ideas with each other.

Mrs. Voigt’s favorite thing about her classroom is her live animals! “I love to see students form relationships with them and take pride in caring for them.”

Fun Fact: Mrs. Voigt loves to spend time outside, in fact last summer she went camping six times!

  • Ms. Voigt

Mrs. Starrett, like most teachers, expects her students to be on task, stay focused, and collaborate appropriately with each other.   

 Something students wouldn’t know, Mrs. Starrett kayaked 21 miles down a river this past summer!


  • Mrs. Starrett

Math Department:

Mrs. Cooks had her number (15) retired at her high school for being a star basketball/volleyball/softball player. 

In general Mrs. Cook’s advice for school is to be kind to everyone. “Be the reason someone SMILES today!!!”


  • Mrs. Cooks

Mrs. Aguilar doesn’t appreciate it when students use inappropriate language, even if they say they’re joking around with friends.

It may come as a surprise, however, Mrs. Aguilar has a fear of car washes.

  • Mrs. Aguilar

Social Studies Department:

Mrs. Vento usually sees maturity begin to kick in among her students. They tend to act super squirrely at the beginning of the year as they are going through puberty, but as time passes they learn better how to control themselves. 

In her classroom, Mrs. Vento expects to see effort within her students. Kids who consistently try are the easiest to champion.  

Shockingly, Mrs. Vento does not like fruit. At. All. “Not even fruit-flavored stuff, the taste, and texture are just… bleh,” she said.

In general, Mrs. Vento feels students should say “hi” to their old teachers. Don’t just stop by for a senior recommendation, “it’s not like we’re expecting you to be best friends with us, that’s weird, but keep in touch… we love to hear, like, exciting things in your life… we want to champion you. I love to see, like, you as a person, not just what I see you as, like, a historian.”

  • Mrs. Vento

Language Department:

A class pet peeve Mrs. Santiago has is when students pull their phones out in class. She finds it very disrespectful. 

Mrs. Santiago’s favorite thing to do is to have her students play interactive games. She believes this helps them learn in a fun way. She also loves when students participate in active group interpersonal conversations to help build skills.   

A fun fact Mrs. Santiago has is that she didn’t travel much as a kid. She took her first adventure by herself at 18 to Australia. Because of her late start, Santi recommends that others take the opportunity to travel as much as they can. “If you want to see the world, go out and see it, that’s what I did,” she said.

General advice Mrs. Santiago has is to find ways to organize and prioritize everything you need to accomplish. It will make things so much easier. 

  • Mrs. Santiago

Computer Science Department:

Mrs. Homay expects her students to be problem solvers and team players while enjoying coding without the pressure of meeting deadlines. 

Mrs. Homayounpour’s favorite thing to teach is programming. “Programming is my passion 100%, I love programming and love teaching it. I enjoy watching them be excited about it,” she said. 

Mrs. Homay loves to travel, and she has traveled to many countries. Her hobbies are listening to audiobooks and Ted Talks, watching comedy shows, and of course programming :). A fun fact about her is that although she loves teaching Game Design, she does not enjoy playing video games at all!


  • Mrs. Homayounpour

Music Department:

Mrs. Keller, along with Mr. Fletcher and Ms. Lemon, agrees that “students taking initiative with practicing, being responsible and on time, and helping and encouraging each other,” is expected behavior.

The music teachers find it bothersome when students talk in between playing, aren’t ready when the conductor is, and when they don’t practice for rehearsals.

Mr. Fletcher’s favorite thing to teach to his band class is marching band, Mrs. Keller loves teaching bowing styles to her orchestra students, and Ms. Lemon is happy when teaching solfege to her choir students.

Fun facts about the music department: Mr. Fletcher lived in Japan for 3 years, Mrs. Keller was a cheerleader in high school, and Ms. Lemon went skydiving in 2019!

Administrative Faculty:

Officer Straus typically sees the behavioral differences between middle schoolers and high schoolers. “It definitely takes some maturity getting into a building with high school kids as well,” he said. Officer Straus can evidently see and hear the difference between lunch periods since the middle schoolers are still figuring out what is/isn’t appropriate behavior, but he recommends they continue looking up to the high schoolers as role models.

Something Officer Straus loves is his involvement with students and being able to get to know them and make that connection. Helping with activities like middle school basketball and track is a fun experience that allows for the same enjoyment for him as a staff member as it does for the students.

A fun fact about Officer Straus is that his birthday is on a holiday, a joyful one indeed, Christmas!  

A pet peeve Officer Straus has is when people chew with their mouth open, “it’s always driven me crazy,” he said.


  • Officer Straus

Mr. Depue would really appreciate it if students worked on their self-control. He said, “I fully understand that middle school is a time for students to explore who they are… included in this is a lot of silliness. That being said, if students simply would not touch each other and/or each other’s belongings, things would go much smoother. Keep your hands to yourself.”

A fun fact about Mr. Depue is that he shoots traps once a week. 

In general, around school, Mr. Depue hopes to see students helping one another. “Go out of your way to do something nice for someone every day!” 

  • Mr. Depue