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Starr’s Mill High Student and Teacher Selected for State’s ESOL Award

Starr’s Mill High student Momoka “Ashley” Fukuyama and ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teacher Valerie Hughey, also from Starr’s Mill High, have received the 2019 Georgia Exemplary English Learner Award and the 2019 Georgia Exemplary ESOL Teacher Award, respectively.Starr’s Mill High Student and Teacher Selected for State’s ESOL Award

Each year the Georgia Department of Education recognizes ESOL students and teachers for excellence in learning and instruction. Students who have excelled academically and teachers who have made tremendous strides in the education of ESOL students are honored throughout the state.

The Exemplary English Learner Award is given to English learners statewide who are in their junior or senior year of high school and have maintained a 3.0 grade point average or higher.

Tammy Strickland, the school system’s ESOL program coordinator, says this is an important recognition because English learner students have to work twice as hard to make high academic achievements.

“It takes extraordinary perseverance and dedication to achieve high academic standards while learning a second language. English learners are faced with acclimating to a new culture and are tasked with learning the language of academics simultaneously. In essence, it is double the work,” she says.

The Exemplary ESOL Teacher Award is given to ESOL teachers statewide who were nominated by their school system’s ESOL coordinator because of the contribution they have made to Georgia’s ESOL community.  

This marks the fourth year that the Georgia Department of Education has recognized outstanding English learners and ESOL teachers. A ceremony and reception was held at the Georgia Department of Education in May to honor all of the state’s winning students and teachers.