USD 489 Early Childhood Connections staff member, Lizzette Alvarez was chosen as the 2021 Kansas Head Start Support Staff Member of the Year. She was recognized for her accomplishment on August 16 at the Connections Back to School Welcome in front of all staff.
Lizzette Alvarez, “Liz” is a Bilingual Teacher Assistant for the Connections program . She provides translation services for all the 3 to 5 classrooms as well as family services.
Liz’s nomination reads, “There is no department or Connections staff person that does not benefit from Liz's support. Liz is the only Spanish interpreter for the program. While this sounds simple, her duties are multi-faceted involving program administration, classrooms and families. When Spanish speaking families first reach out to our program, Liz is their first contact.”
While some Connections teachers have their ESOL endorsement, none are fluent in Spanish. Teacher Jean Hertel says of Alvarez, “More important than simple translation services, is her innate gift with children that puts them at ease and makes them feel safe. Students who come to my classroom not speaking English are typically overwhelmed and scared. Her presence immediately puts them at ease and gives them a voice to communicate. I believe it is due to her intervention that students pick up English so quickly.”