DeKalb student, teacher recognized by state for English language learners’ achievement.

Stone Mountain High School senior Amina Mohammad has been honored as a Star English Learner Student by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). Meanwhile, Jenevee Spence has been named the top Star English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher for the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) by the state.

Both programs recognize achievements in the ESOL program, which ensures that students with a primary language other than English receive the proper support to communicate in English and demonstrate their academic, social, and cultural proficiency.

Mohammad and Spence will be honored at State Superintendent Richard Woods’ “Excellence in Achievement” reception on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The awards demonstrate their top performance according to Sandra Nunez, director of the DCSD English Language Studies Program/Title III.

“English Learners have to work double to meet today’s rigorous academic standards, i.e. they must learn both a new language and new content at the same time in order to even begin to perform at the same level of their English speaking peers,” Nunez said. “This recognition is very important for all English Learners and their teachers, because it not only recognizes the recipients for their great academic effort and achievement, but the recipients become models of encouragement and support for all English Learners and their teachers to know that they can achieve at high levels, too.”

Mohammad met the criteria for the Star English Learner Student recognition, which includes a minimum 3.0 grade point average, on track to graduate with the class of 2017, and recommendations from a teacher or school administrator.

Winning students select the ESOL Star Teacher winner. Mohammad nominated Spence by writing a 250-word essay highlighting how the teacher made a difference her life. Teachers must have taught the student an ESOL subject for which the student received credit.