The Georgia Department of Education EL Language Program has recognized recent Walnut Grove High School graduate Delianna Diaz Estrella as an Exemplary English Learner and Loganville Elementary School teacher Dr. Sandra Cleveland as an Exemplary ESOL Teacher for Spring 2020. Congratualtions to Delianna and Dr. Cleveland on this well-deserved honor!
Delianna Diaz Estrella
Delianna arrived in the US just last year, as an 11th grader. She had been accustomed to making good grades in the Dominican Republic, and set high standards for herself upon enrolling at Walnut Grove High School. Delianna’s drive and determination became evident immediately as she began translating all of her notes into English and memorizing as much as she could. She approached every class assignment and assessment as an opportunity to not only demonstrate her knowledge but also to challenge herself. She takes initiative and is not afraid to ask for help. Her work is always meticulous and thorough. Additionally, Delianna has a lovely, positive attitude which made her teachers happy to see her every day. She was always helpful to other students, especially those who are also learning English. Many students seemed to be drawn to Delianna, seeking her out for help, whether with an assignment or just when they need someone to talk to. Delianna has overcome tremendous odds as a newcomer, and her teachers are sure that she will be successful in whatever she seeks to do after high school.
Dr. Sandra Cleveland
Dr. Cleveland spent many years teaching gifted students. She transitioned to teaching ESOL four years ago, and now says that she can’t imagine doing anything else. She is bilingual in English and Spanish, and has completed training to become a Certified Educational Interpreter. Dr. Cleveland frequently assists with translation of documents and interpretation at meetings of all types. She has been involved with summer programs for English Learners as well as tutoring ELs. Dr. Cleveland is not only a smart and effective educator, she is also a caring and compassionate human being. She has recently advocated for a young English Learner who suffered a traumatic brain injury, helping this student’s parents navigate through the medical system and determine best options for the student to continue her education. Last year, 100% of Dr. Cleveland’s 32 ESOL students made progress toward English proficiency as measured by the CCRPI, with 22 of her students (that's 69% of them) making TWO or more bands’ growth in one year. This is truly amazing. Part of the reason that ELs at Dr. Cleveland’s school are so successful is her tireless collaboration with other teachers, planning with them to ensure that students are provided optimal opportunities to learn English and content area standards. Dr. Sandra Cleveland is the epitome of an exemplary ESOL teacher.