A Hamilton Southeastern High School teacher was recognized by the HSE Board of Trustees during the board’s Oct. 11 meeting for winning a statewide award for educator excellence.
Becky Schroeder, who teaches English as a New Language, was one of 16 individual teachers who received awards during a Sept. 8 Indiana Department of Education ceremony. Schroeder won the English Learner Educator Excellence Award, which came with a $2,500 check.
During the HSE board meeting, Schroeder said she was honored to receive the award, and credited the team of ENL teachers for the department’s accomplishments.
“It takes a whole team effort to get an award like this and we were just talking about how amazing our students are as well,” she said. “HSE has some of the best students in the state and our ENL programs are another example of those students.”
She said there are more than 50 languages spoken at Hamilton Southeastern High School
“A lot of times. people don’t realize how diverse we are and how amazing these kids are,” Schroeder said. “Again, I’m just so thankful to just represent the great work that goes on here.”
Interim Superintendent Matt Kegley said that in the entire district, there are more than 1,500 students in ENL programs, representing varying levels of English proficiency.
Schroeder told the board that when students who are not native English speakers move into the district, they are screened for proficiency. Those who need some help with English are placed into the program, which works not only with students but with other teachers to help them accommodate students as they become more comfortable with English.
Schroeder said her students work hard to learn English and the regular curriculum at the same time.
“To see the growth from the day they get here, it really is incredible,” she said. “They’re my heroes. They are some of the strongest people I’ve ever encountered. These are brilliant children that just need a little accommodating with their language.”
In 2022, Schroeder received a grant from the Hamilton Southeastern Education Foundation to create “ENL Welcome Kits and Brain Regulating Zones” for ENL students. Through the grant funds, the ENL department provided school-spirit gear for new ENL students. The grant also helped create a zone in the classroom for recharging and regulating brain activity to prepare for the academic tasks ahead.