SAN ANTONIO -

School starts on Monday for many districts around San Antonio.

However, on Friday, more than 7,000 San Antonio Independent School District teachers and employees got a head start with a special district-wide convocation.

The convocation at the AT&T Center on Friday resembled a pep-rally for teachers getting ready for the start of the new school year.

"It gets us ready for the upcoming year," said Jessica Rodriguez, a teacher at Barkley-Ruiz Elementary. "They're pumping us up, getting us excited about the first day."

Friday's district-wide convocation was also about focusing on education, as well as inspiring and motivating another class of champs.

Laura Sanchez, a teacher at Graebner Elementary, said that hearing from two former SAISD students -- Mayor Julian Castro and State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, both alums of Jefferson High School -- was especially inspiring.

"This is just an exciting event to get us prepped, to get us going with the wonderful speakers and the wonderful words of our mayor and to hear Leticia Van De Putte supports us," said Sanchez. "It's good to hear how much we are appreciated."

Sanchez said although she knows her job will not be easy, she said she is prepared for the challenge and ready to help each and every student succeed.

"Teaching is always a challenge," said Sanchez. "You have to be a flexible person and you just have a passion and I'm ready for it because I have a support system at my school and this is going to be a great year."

Vanessa Beltran, a teacher at J.T. Brackenridge Elementary, said she was setting goals for herself.

"My goal is to have all of my kids passing with 80 and above in my STARR," said Beltran.

District Superintendent Dr. Sylvester Perez also talked about the district's mission: "To transform SAISD into a national model urban school district where every child graduates and is educated so that he or she is prepared to be a contributing member of the community."

The new school year for SAISD starts this Monday.

For a list of recent stories Stephanie Serna has done, click here.