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Cook County Schools honor 2022 Exemplary ESOL Teacher

(From left) Cook County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tim Dixon; Assistant Superintendent/Federal Programs Director Dr. Becky Ratts; Margaret Smith, Cook Primary School ESOL Teacher; John Smith, Mrs. Smith’s husband; the Smiths’ children, Sophie and John Aiden; and Cook County Board of Education Chairman Jeff Taylor.

During the Monday, June 13, 2022, regular session, the Cook County Board of Education honored Margaret Smith as 2022 Cook County Schools Exemplary ESOL Teacher.

Dr. Becky Ratts, Assistant Superintendent/Federal Programs Director, presented the special recognition to Mrs. Smith.

A Japanese proverb states, “Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” Margaret Smith, Cook Primary School’s ESOL teacher, exemplifies this statement. Mrs. Smith has high expectations for all students, builds relationships with all stakeholders, and teaches the whole child. Language is not a barrier to learning. Mrs. Smith front-loads vocabulary for students in three different grade levels. To adequately prepare her students for language acquisition in all content areas, Mrs. Smith has become prolific in the language of the standards in all content areas for all grade levels. She prepares differentiated instruction based on ACCESS scores to capitalize on student strengths and remediate areas of concern. Her lesson plans reflect that she provides instruction that addresses reading, writing, listening, and speaking. ACCESS scores show student growth because Mrs. Smith prepares her students for success.

In addition to outstanding classroom performance, Mrs. Smith is an integral part of the Cook Primary School family. She serves as a PLC chairperson and sits on the L4GA Team. Mrs. Smith helped write the L4GA grant for Cook Primary School, advocating for ELs and increased family engagement. Mrs. Smith collaborates with general education teachers to maximize student growth and achievement and is a liaison between her students, teachers, and families.

Finally, Mrs. Smith has made and continues to make a difference in our community. She and her husband John coach volleyball and tennis. Although Mrs. Smith is no longer an official coach, both the volleyball and tennis team members know that she plays a pivotal role in the success of their teams.

She is an encourager, cheerleader, mentor, and friend. Her impact on our community is a long-lasting investment as she has instilled character, sportsmanship, and integrity in countless athletes.

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