Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Teacher Loves Work with English Language Learners

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Teacher Loves Work with English Language Learners

Article excerpt

Jessica Bartholomew, who teaches English as a second language in the Mt. Lebanon School District, has been recognized by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for surpassing expectations in the classroom.

Mrs. Bartholomew, of Bethel Park, received the 2015 World of Gratitude Award this summer from the Homestead-based AIU.

She was honored for "going above and beyond" in the classroom, said Kelly Noyes, ESL program director for the AIU.

"I love what I do because I get to be an advocate for families and children who do not always have a voice," said Mrs. Bartholomew, who works out of Lincoln Elementary School.

Mrs. Bartholomew, 34, grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and graduated from Baldwin High School.

In 2006, she began working for the AIU as a substitute teacher. Shortly after that, the AIU was looking for someone to fill in in an ESL position for two weeks.

"I got in it and I absolutely loved it," she said. She began working full time for the AIU in 2009.

At Lincoln Elementary, she has 14 ESL students in kindergarten through fifth grade that represent nine countries and seven languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Turkish.

"I have really diverse kids," she said.

One thing she thoroughly enjoys about her job is the bonds she forges with her students and their families.

"I get to build meaningful and lasting relationships with my students and their families, and I learn about the world through these relationships in return," she said.

She said it's easy to form a bond with the parents as well as the students because she often has to help parents with filling out their child's school paperwork and other school-related tasks.

"I feel lucky to be able to help them through that," she said.

Her job does present some challenges.

One is working with students who come from backgrounds with no formal education or literacy skills in their native languages, she said. …

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