Program named the 10 most impactful EL teachers in the country, awarding their school with a schoolwide license of newly released Rosetta Stone English.
Rosetta Stone Inc. announced the 10 winners in its first Emergent Bilingual Educators of the Year award program. A total of $20,000 in grant donations and $75,000 in subscriptions to the Rosetta Stone® English for Education language learning program were awarded to teachers of English learners (EL).
Victor Machado, an ESL teacher at East Side High School in Newark, New Jersey, won the $10,000 grand prize, along with a schoolwide semester’s subscription to Rosetta Stone English. The two runners-up are Timothy McGrath and Virginia Valdez. McGrath is a K-5 ELL teacher at West View Elementary School, a small inner-city school in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Valdez is a kindergarten teacher at Minnie Mars Jamieson Elementary at Chicago Public Schools. Each won $5,000 grants as well as the schoolwide semester’s subscription to Rosetta Stone English.
Machado was nominated by the Bilingual Department Chairperson Brian Donovan who submitted an essay describing how Machado helps his students. Donovan wrote of Machado: “He is able to synthesize all the tools required to educate a student and turn his class into a fun engaging ESL lab, where technology is used to leverage student achievement and where students take ownership of their education.”
Donovan also stated that besides being an excellent teacher, Machado guides students in their lives beyond the classroom. For example, Machado noticed that one student had decaying teeth. That student had migrated to the United States from Honduras aboard a train so horrible, it was called “La Bestia” (the Beast). Machado had the student tell the story of the journey through an assignment and took the story to a local dentist’s office where his wife worked as a dental assistant. They were so moved that they offered to fix the student’s teeth, which was nearly $11,000 worth of dental work, and provide free checkups.
East Side High currently has over 700 students in ESL classes. Machado will use the grant to boost his efforts using data, creativity, edtech, and personal connections to help students succeed in and out of school.
Runner-up McGrath wrote in his essay, “Parent-Teacher Conferences are a big part of our school year. We have these meetings during each grading period throughout the year. Unfortunately, for many of the parents of my ELL students they cannot make these important meetings due to their work schedules. … I learned Spanish several years ago (started out with Rosetta Stone!!!) and since all of the students are from Spanish-speaking families there is no problem with communication. I have found that having the meeting in their homes provides parents with a more comfortable environment to talk freely and openly about the school and their student.” He will use his grant to purchase edtech for his students.
In her essay, runner-up Valdez wrote that “Through my year-round Books to Keep Program, I give my students one multicultural or high-interest book every Friday to build their home libraries. I have given my students over 10,000 books.” She will use her grant for targeted bilingual resources and support tools.
The seven additional winners of the contest won subscription site licenses to Rosetta Stone English for their entire school for one semester, valued at $7,500.
- Amy Comisiak, an ELL teacher at Cool Spring Elementary in Maryland (nominated by Ronae Smith, assistant principal of Cool Spring Elementary) won for securing resources such as food and housing for ELL communities.
- Stephanie Holcombe, an ELL teacher at Henry C. Maxwell Elementary School in Tennessee, won for creating a Super Families workshop series program and celebrating her ELL first-graders’ “superpowers.”
- Jenny Jacobs, an ESL 1 teacher at The English High School in Massachusetts (nominated by Emily Trono, history teacher at The English High School) won for building an ELL assessment and intervention program at her school.
- Michelle Mardiney, a bilingual kindergarten teacher at the Glen Cove School District in New York state, won for providing distance learning over the summer to minimize regression.
- Anastacio Marin, assistant principal at Chamblee Charter High School in Virginia won for spearheading programs for ELL students and their families.
- Jesusa Merioles, a science teacher at International Community High School in New York City, won for centering critical thinking and shared celebration in her diverse classroom.
- Pedro Trivella, an ESL educator at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in New Jersey, won for designing and writing his district’s ELL/bilingual K-8 curriculum.
“Our team recognizes that there are amazing examples of teacher excellence in the field, and was thrilled by what so many educators have accomplished,” said José Viana, Senior Advisor, Education Partnerships for Rosetta Stone Education. “The essays submitted by these entrants were incredibly inspiring. The judges had a tough job choosing among the many essays, but we are delighted to have this chance to recognize the winners.”
Interested parties can find all the winning essays, as well as those of the finalists, at https://education.rosettastone.com/emergent-bilingual-educators-of-the-year-finalists.