Teacher of the Year Nomination – Ms. Baunelos

by Jessica on May 19, 2016

Parent, Lydia Spurgeon nominated Ms. Banuelos of
Jackson Magnet STEM Dual Language Academy in Altadena. 

My Family and I enthusiastically, wholeheartedly, and respectfully nominate our daughter’s teacher, Mrs. Sandra Bañuelos, as the Vroman’s Bookstore 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Bañuelos is a First Grade, Dual Spanish Language Immersion Program teacher at Jackson Magnet STEM Dual Language Academy in Altadena, part of the Pasadena Unified School District.

Although I read, write, and speak Spanish fluently, our daughter grew up speaking only English at home and at school. Once I learned about the dual language immersion programs that PUSD offers, I jumped immediately at the opportunity to apply for her to transfer to one of these schools. Fortunately, she was able to begin the summer before First grade. Unfortunately, that put her an academic year behind her peers in Spanish language skills.

Ms. Bañuelos has been her teacher since last Summer when she didn’t understand any Spanish at all, and from day one has balanced being kind, encouraging, and helpful to her with being structured, patient, and steadfast in her instructions and activities. She has been instrumental in our daughter’s level of success and growth at such a quick rate after starting with such a disadvantage. She told us about how she can identify with her on a personal level because she had the same experience growing up, not knowing any English when she began school. And she also understands the value of being bilingual and the opportunities that come with it.

One of our best and proudest memories of this school year was a quick video that she took of our daughter leading the class in their daily morning class opening – in Spanish! To see the teacher beaming and so happy that she was able to do it on her own was so heartwarming and rewarding.

Ms. Bañuelos has also inspired me again to pick up books in Spanish and to read them with, and have my daughter read them to me. In particular, just this week, we have enjoyed, “La oruga muy hambrienta” and “La mariquita malhumorada!”

Although I know our daughter will not have her as a teacher next year, we unequivocally understand that Ms. Bañuelos has made a grand difference in our lives and has been an excellent example of what persistence, perseverance, and diligence in learning language can do for a little one’s life – and for us as parents as well.

¡BRAVA para Maestra Bañuelos, y muchísimas gracias por todo!