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2021-22 Above & Beyond Awards winner: Kelly Kum

award winner Kelly Kum“Kelly sets very high standards for her teaching, always seeking new ways to keep her students engaged in their learning. She prioritizes her relationships with students and families and takes the time to create motivation for her students to increase their learning.” -Tanya Novak, English as a Second Language teacher

Kelly goes out of her way to find library resources to help students build background knowledge, and her lessons are always carefully planned. She devotes extra time to the EL department serving as the department leader, serving on the leadership team, and also spends time translating school documents and interpreting in Spanish as needed. 

“My job as an EL teacher is very rewarding,” Kum said. “I have the opportunity to work with many students from a variety of backgrounds. I love getting to know them and learning about their home languages and cultures. Another rewarding aspect of my job is seeing the rapid growth of my students throughout the school year and how proud they are of themselves for their accomplishments.”

Kelly makes a point of regularly leaving positive notes for students in their lockers to reinforce good behavior and she has an enormous amount of patience. She has also helped coordinate parent engagement events to help families understand how to become more engaged in their children’s education, and to support them with community resources. 

“The most important element of my teaching is for students to know I care about them and believe in them,” Kum said. “I think having strong, positive relationships with students is the most important thing I can do as a teacher. This makes them feel safe enough to take risks so they can learn and grow. I let them know that I will be with them to support and encourage them along the way to help them succeed.”