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Scholarship Winners Equipped to Better Understand and Engage Diverse Students

19 March 2013

Last summer, Primary Source awarded three educators a scholarship to attend Cultural Proficiency in Today's Diverse Schools: A Multidisciplinary Approach, a summer institute for K-12 educators. Each scholarship winner was required to use ideas and resources they gained in the institute to implement meaningful projects in their schools. We caught up with scholarship winner Vincenza Goodwin recently to see how her projects are going and hear her thoughts on the importance of cultural proficiency for educators of diverse classrooms. Stay tuned on our website for an update from the other two scholarship winners!

Students

Vincenza Goodwin's students at Susan B. Anthony Middle School in Revere, Massachusetts

Vincenza Goodwin, Revere, Massachusetts
"I applied for the scholarship because I have a huge interest in culture, especially as it relates to English Language Learner (ELL) students and urban education," says scholarship winner Vincenza (Enza) Goodwin, an ELL teacher at Susan B. Anthony Middle School in Revere, Massachusetts.

"As someone who was raised in a bilingual and bi-cultural home, I was lucky because my culture was always seen and treated as positive since I was an Italian being raised in an Italian-American community," Enza says. "Now I see students who come from different countries with varying degrees of literacy and their culture and language are often not supported or respected." Over 25 languages are represented in the Revere school district: in Enza's classroom alone, 7 different languages are represented: Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Albanian, Bosnian, Vietnamese, and Haitian Creole.

"My job is to teach ELL students English, but for me it is so much more than that," says Enza. She works on all areas of the curriculum with her ELL students, as well as on social skills and norms. Enza used the scholarship money to stock her classroom with board games, books, and other supplies that support English-language learning.

"The Primary Source course gave me the opportunity to meet educators from suburban districts who do not necessarily encounter the problems or issues that we see in urban districts,” says Enza. “While it was difficult to relate on school issues, it was inspiring to hear all that they do and how to implement some of that in my classroom."

Enza's efforts and her dedication as an educator have left a lasting impression on her students. A 7th grader from Colombia who has been in the U.S. for two years, commented: "In my life I have had a lot of teachers but not one like Mrs. Goodwin. Since I came to this country and school she was the person who has helped me the most. I am thankful for her and in my heart I love her like my mother and I really love her because she is the kind of person who loves her job and her students."

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