Marylou Escobar

When we review applicants for the Dual Language Teacher of the Month award, we often review what their colleagues, students, and superiors have to say about them. Our February Teacher of the Month, Marylou Escobar, stood out because of the care, generosity, and passion for her profession that her peers so clearly identify. Angela Palmeri, our first Dual Language Teacher of the Month, nominated Marylou for her excellence. Marylou is the co-founder of the Spanish Dual Immersion Program where she teaches, and has been in the educational field for over 35 years. She began her career as a bilingual teacher’s assistant at Cal State University Northridge and has been a bilingual educator ever since. She has taught Adult ESL classes, TK through Middle school, however, most of her teaching years have been in kindergarten. Kindergarten is an incredibly important year in beginning Dual Language success, and this is why we are so excited to announce Marylou as our February Teacher of the Month!

Teacher of the Month - Marylou Escobar

My most important goal each year is to mold my classroom into a community! I am proud to say I have contributed to the building of 32 class communities!- Marylou Escobar

MaryLou Escobar first saw her potential to be an educator when she was in third grade. Her teacher, Mrs. Riboli was an inspiration to her because of the care and attention she provided Marylou. Mrs. Riboli knew Marylou was a struggling student, and took it upon herself to tutor her after school. Because of this personalized attention, Marylou became a confident student, and knew she would go on to be a teacher to help students reach their full potential, just as Mrs. Riboli did for her.

“If I can have the impact that my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Riboli, had on me, I will consider my career a success!”

Marylou began her teaching career at John Muir Elementary, which was just beginning their first Spanish Dual Language Program. After she participated in two interviews and a demonstration lesson in Spanish, she was hired to develop the first Spanish Dual Immersion Program for the school, along with co-founding teacher, Ms. Angela Palmeri (Dual Language Teacher of the Month January, 2017- our first ever!)

“My favorite part of being a teacher is participating in my students’ school journey. Every year, I have the immense honor and privilege of witnessing my students’ academic learning but most importantly to help them discover things about themselves and their unique talents.”

“Another of my favorite parts of being a teacher is working collaboratively with my fellow teachers. My current fellow dual colleagues are some of the hardest working, dedicated, teachers I have the privilege to work with. Creating and developing a program together has been and continues to be one of the highlights of my professional career!”

Throughout her career, she has practiced the philosophy, which she coined, “Sharing the Wealth”. It means that she believes that all educators have the responsibility to share what they know with other educators so that they can better educate students, whether in the classroom or outside with their families and loved ones.

Teacher of the Month - Marylou Escobar

Sharing love is the ONLY way to make a difference!- Marylou Escobar

“When you share a new lesson, strategy or specific technique with another teacher, you are contributing to the learning of another 20 plus students and that is immensely rewarding. Therefore, I have “Shared the Wealth” in all the schools I have had the privilege of being a staff member. I have also enjoyed collaborating with various educational researchers and fortunately some of our work has been published and presented at Cal., State University, Los Angeles and UCLA.”

Teacher of the Month - Marylou Escobar

Hands on experiences such as field trips make for unforgettable memories for our students!- Marylou Escobar

Marylou believes the most powerful research she has participated in has been on Formative Assessments. She has been a strong advocate and passionate leader on teachers using formative assessments on a daily basis to inform their daily instruction. At the Para los Niños Charter School, located on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles, she had the incredible opportunity to be an integral partner in the research, implementation, and demonstration of Formative Assessments in her bilingual kindergarten classroom. Her work was published as a chapter entitled, Academic Language for Science Among Young English Language Learners, authored by Alison L. Bailey, Yiching D. Huang, and Marylou Escobar. It is chapter 8 in the book, New Frontiers in Formative Assessment. Marylou continues to use formative assessments as a daily practice in her classroom.

Administrators at John Muir and Marylou’s fellow colleagues have said that her classroom is a warm, inviting atmosphere where the involvement and engagement of her students is evident. She considers the highest compliment, however, from the parents, when they tell her that their students want to come to school even when they are sick.

“My vice principal came to visit my classroom and she left a little note on my desk. It said, ‘Thank you for making this a “magical” place for your students.’ I cried tears of joy because that is exactly what my goal is every day!”

Marylou creates this “magical” environment because she gives them her undivided attention whenever possible. She acknowledges how it can be difficult especially at the kindergarten level, as they seem to need constant attention. However, she engages them particularly in their outdoor playtime, where she makes it a point to check in with them. She asks them personal questions, about their pets, hobbies, and what they like to do at home and at school. Developing a connection with her students allows her to bring out the best in them both academically and socially. She wants them to know that she cares about them as people first, and then as her students.

Teacher of the Month - Marylou Escobar

Preparing a student for the future is a privilege and an honor!- Marylou Escobar

“Encouraging them to be themselves is part of helping them explore their creativity. When they feel secure, they are free to be themselves and then they are able to tap more comfortably into their creative side.”

Teacher of the Month - Marylou Escobar

Sharing cultural events is an indispensable part of all dual programs!- Marylou Escobar

When speaking with Marylou, her passion for education, particularly her students, is evident. Her humility is striking when she discusses her partnership with Angela Palmeri, when they co-founded the Dual Immersion Program at John Muir Elementary. We asked her to describe her school leadership in 3 words, which she said “passionate, invigorating, and a leader by example”. When she described her students, she said “Motivated, Eager, and Excited to learn”.

“Biliteracy means being afforded the opportunity to open the door to more life experiences! When you are able to communicate/connect with more people with whom you share this planet, you are able to experience life with them, too.”

Marylou is passionate about biliteracy and works to make sure her students feel this same drive to be biliterate, too. She does this by utilizing a poster in her classroom that says, “Somos orgullosos de ser bilingües!”. On the “The Dual Language Schools guide to Start a Successful Dual Language Immersion Program” on DualLanguageSchools.org, we discuss the importance of utilizing posters in your classroom to help students understand that they are in an inclusive space. In Marylou’s classroom, they read this poster aloud every day to remind her students why it is important to work hard to better their bilingualism in and out of the classroom. She wants her students, even from the age of kindergarten, to feel pride in learning more than one language. She acts as an example for them, and tells them that because she is bilingual, she can be their Spanish Kindergarten teacher, and reminds them of how fortunate they are for this opportunity, which will, one day, allow them to do what they love, too.

I hope I have modeled for my students how to treat others with love, empathy, and respect and that they carry on that example throughout their lives. I believe students learn by doing and if I have modeled effectively, they will impact the world in the same way!

Teacher of the Month - Marylou Escobar

It is an honor to work alongside my awesome John Muir Dual Language Immersion Team.- Marylou Escobar

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