Thursday, March 4, 2010

Limited English Proficient and Migrant Program Awards

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna today recognized the work of four educators and two schools that have made great strides in working with Limited English Proficient (LEP) and migrant students.

Through the federally funded LEP program, the State Department of Education created the Idaho LEP Educator of the Year and Program of Excellence awards to recognize those making strides in achievement among LEP students and to share their best practices with other schools across Idaho. The Department also awarded the 2010 Migrant Family Liaison of the Year Award.

The LEP Educator of the Year recipients will receive $1,000 each; the LEP Programs of Excellence will receive $2,500 each. The Migrant Family Liaison of the Year will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the National Migrant Education Conference.

“These educators and programs serve as great examples of the excellent work I see as I visit schools across Idaho,” Superintendent Luna said. “Through these awards, we are able to recognize the great work of these educators and communities and share their success stories with others.”

The following is a list of recipients and a brief description of why they won the awards.

Recipients of the 2010 Idaho LEP Educator of the Year Award:
·    Administrator Award Recipient: Tim Rosandick, Superintendent of Homedale School District.
Rosandick’s leadership, expertise, and active involvement in the evaluation and development of the Homedale School District’s LEP program have been instrumental in its success. Under his leadership, the district has significantly increased the number of LEP students making AYP in reading and math, exceeding the state average among LEP students and also earning a State Board of Education Exceptional Growth Award.
“Tim’s leadership skills, his ability to listen intently, and his passion for providing the best education for Homedale’s students are qualities that are not pre-packaged, ready to pull off the shelf, but have been formed from the years of experience and knowledge that he brings to the job of Superintendent.” –Luci Asumendi-Mereness, Homedale Middle School Principal
·    Teacher Award Recipient: Olivia Lynn Tate, ESL teacher, Mountain View High School, Meridian School District.
As the English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Mountain View High, Tate works effectively and collaboratively with her fellow teachers to ensure her students have every opportunity to access and succeed in the general content areas. Tate has had the joy of helping her LEP students become involved in school, reach graduation, and go on to postsecondary education. Tate shares her expertise through presentations and in-service trainings focusing on culture, instructional practices, language acquisition, modification strategies for LEP students, and much more.
“I cannot say enough good about her.  In my opinion, she goes far above and beyond the requirements of her teaching contract.  She has always been readily available by phone, email, or home visit to answer our questions and help guide us in decisions we needed to make regarding our son.  She knows each ELL student individually.  She not only knows their academic capabilities, but is well aware of their unique struggles and emotional strengths and weaknesses.” –Luann Gray, Mountain View High School Parent
·    Paraprofessional Award Recipient: Dulfia Vasquez, Bilingual Paraprofessional, Dietrich School, Dietrich School District
Vasquez has more than 18 years of experience teaching in Idaho and Mexico. She is known for her professionalism and ongoing desire to stay current with educational research and best practices. Her greatest strength is her constant advocacy for Migrant and LEP students and their families, which are seen in the form of interpreting/translating, cultural mediation, parent education, and staff education. However, Vasquez’s greatest reward comes in seeing her LEP and Migrant students graduate from high school and enroll in postsecondary education with many of them earning scholarships.
“I had never been out of Mexico when I came to Dietrich School last year.  I did not speak any English.  I met Mrs. Vasquez my first day of school and she made me feel comfortable right away.  She was very kind by explaining to me the differences in culture and encouraging me to keep trying.  My classmates have told me how well I speak English and I owe this to Mrs. Vasquez.  Though I have graduated from needing Mrs. Vasquez’s help, I still stop by and say Hi because I miss seeing her everyday.” –Reina Venegas, Eighth Grade Student at Dietrich School

Recipients of the 2010 Idaho LEP Program of Excellence Award:
·    Elementary Program Award: Wendell Elementary School, Wendell School District
Wendell Elementary School’s English as a New Language (ENL) philosophy begins and ends with the word “collaboration.” They firmly believe that English Language Learner (ELL) students can best be served if every staff member, every teacher, and every administrator becomes an enthusiastic stakeholder in the lives of each ENL student and family. Wendell Elementary understands that the ELL students’ academic needs are crucial, and must be accompanied by wise and compassionate attention to physical, psychological, cultural, and linguistic needs.
“Wendell Elementary School’s LEP program provides excellent Tier 1 and 2 interventions that really make a difference to our students.  Our LEP staff work closely with regular classroom teachers to review the necessary Tier 1 accommodations.  In addition, an outstanding LEP program must involve the parents in the education of their students.  Wendell Elementary has an LEP staff dedicated to these parents and their students.” –Greg M. Lowe, Superintendent of Wendell School District
·    Secondary Program Award: Mountain View High School, Meridian School District
The philosophy of Mountain View High School’s LEP program is based on the belief that LEP students are best served by addressing the unique academic needs of each student, collaborating and communicating with LEP families, and by supporting content area teachers within the building. At Mountain View High, students are supported through the creation of individualized, appropriate education plans designed to enhance students’ language and academic learning, as well as provide for their social and cultural growth. The school helps foster successful and productive students by creating collaborative communities with authentic parent involvement and communication, meaningful staff development and instructional support, and a belief that serving LEP students does not stop at the door of the LEP classroom.
“The ELL program saved my education.  It was my beacon in the fog.  When I began my education in the United States, I was more lost than being in a desert.  I did not know anything, from not knowing the language to not knowing the culture.  The ELL program directly affected my ability to be successful in my education.  This program promotes an interest in taking on new challenges head on instead of dropping out.  I can truly say that this program is responsible for me attending the university.  If it had not been for the ELL program, I would not be where I am now- pursuing my dream of one day graduating from the university.” –Maria Cruz Vanegas Rodriguez, former Mountain View High School LEP Student

Recipient of the 2010 Migrant Family Liaison of the Year Award:

·    Mary Lou Olivas, Twin Falls School District

Olivas was recognized as the 2010 Migrant Family Liaison of the Year. Olivas has been a migrant family liaison for 34 years in the Twin Falls School District. She serves approximately 70 migrant students and their families during the regular school year and 100+ during summer school. One of her greatest accomplishments is her ability to establish and maintain a high level of trust and confidence with the migrant community. She is seen as the “godmother” to the migrant families. She spends time with families in the evening assisting with finances, bill paying, shopping, medical needs and many other things. She has gone above and beyond on behalf of the migrant community countless times over her 34 years of service.

-Camille W.

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