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Kalman Awarded Elizabeth Claire Award

By Judie Haynes

Judie with Caren Kalman Judie with Caren Kalman.

Elizabeth Claire, a well known author and publisher of Easy English News, offered a $500 grant to an ESL teacher who teaches ELLs under difficult conditions. The NJTESOL/NJBE Executive Board awarded the Elizabeth Claire Award to Caren Kalman, an ESL teacher in North Bergen, N.J.  Kalman has taught advanced ESL students in grades one through six at Kennedy School in North Bergen since 2000.  During the summer, Caren teaches ELLs in the River Edge Schools’ Summer Program.

Here is an excerpt from Kalman’s application:  “These disturbing socioeconomic struggles within the community make the job of educating these youngsters a challenge for the entire school faculty.  How do we overcome these very significant problems of poverty that often trump our students’ desires and abilities to achieve scholastically?  We bilingual and ESL teachers know, for our pupils especially, the overwhelming gap in their background knowledge and world experience impacts negatively on their academic success. This is particularly true in the sciences and social studies. Their very circumscribed existence makes it almost impossible for them to compete with their middle-class counterparts in other public schools in the state. Despite our best efforts, they score poorly on high stakes reading and writing assessments including the Access for ELLs, and we, their teachers, are held accountable for their failures.” 

Congratulations to Caren Kalman, a worthy recipient of this award.