U-46 Team Member Annette Acevedo

Annette Acevedo, English Language Learners Director

Annette Acevedo What are some of your daily work responsibilities?
I oversee the second largest English Language Learners (ELL) program in the state and one of the largest Dual Language (DL) implementations in the nation, which includes ensuring compliance of the ELL program, practices and procedures in accordance with state regulations. I monitor the implementation of the DL program Districtwide and the ELL instructional core for content and language development. I coordinate and support differentiated, culturally and linguistically responsive (CLR) professional development to address the goals of the DL, TBE and TPI Instructional Programs 

How long have you worked for U-46?
Since 1995. 

What is it like to work for the District where you attended school and from which you graduated and what does it mean to you?
I feel like I'm giving back to a community and educational system that set the foundation for where I'm at today. I have fond memories of my experience in U-46 as a student, and because I had certain teachers that believed in me--set high expectations, and created the environment for me to succeed, I believed in myself. I've always hoped and strived for impacting someone in the same way that I was impacted. I also live in the community so this is MY community, and I feel invested in supporting it by all means possible. It is also the educational system my children graduated from, so I have connections and investments at all levels. It means a great deal to me to be able to serve as a role model to all students, and especially Latino students, as I didn't have that as a Latina student in U-46 (I honestly can't recall but one teacher of color through my schooling experience.) 

Which U-46 schools did you attend?
Primarily Huff as an elementary school, Larsen Middle School, and Elgin High School.

What year did you graduate from high school?

What was your favorite subject and why?
I've always liked English because I like to read and write. I also took French and had a great teacher in high school. He made it engaging and so I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I don't remember much of it (to have a conversation with someone) because I didn't use it or practice it with anyone (even after taking it in college as well.) It's a perfect example of how the foreign language approach doesn't help you learn a language in the same way as being immersed in it through Dual Language programming for both content and language development. 

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
At the elementary level, Mrs. Strohmeier at Huff was my favorite teacher. She was my sixth grade teacher, and I believe we were her first class as a teacher (or close to it.) She was the perfect example of the adage: students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. It was evident she cared for all her students, and for me, she made me feel special. She believed in my potential and told me so. When my family moved briefly during sixth grade, she gave me a mug with jelly beans and a card saying I'd be missed. It's a gesture I'll never forget. I can still picture the mug and how she made me feel. In addition to that, my most lasting (and favorite) memory of her was when she'd sit on a stool and read to the whole class from Shel Silverstein's books. I can still hear her sweet, calm voice, with perfect intonation reading my favorite poem, SICK ("I cannot go to school today said little Peggy Ann McKay, I have the measles and the mumps, a gash, a rash and purple bumps...) or The Giving Tree.  She left such an impression on me and love for Shel Silverstein that when I became a mother, I bought and was gifted a collection of Shel Silverstein books in both English and Spanish, because I wanted to have my own children experience what I had from Mrs. Strohmeier. Even in my role now, I love to go to classrooms and read his books to students (and I always try to emulate the sweet cadence of Mrs. Strohmeier's voice.) In what can best be described as a full circle moment, I was reconnected with Mrs. Strohmeier via Principal Joe Corcoran who heard my story about her several years ago, and then we had the professional experience of presenting together on race and privilege when Dr. Torres was superintendent. I'm thankful that she had the opportunity to hear how she positively impacted my life directly!

Please share a favorite memory from your time as a student in U-46.
See above...that's one. Other fond memories were being silly in Mr. Ward's science class at Larsen Middle School and he going along with it, reading the Scarlet Letter in Mrs. Sitter's class and engaging in provocative thoughtful debates with her and my peers-she made English class so engaging and I looked forward to her pushing us to be critical thinkers, speaking French with Mr. Azinger, being the student council treasurer, and being on Poms--learning those dance routines was fun and going to pom camp with my best friend even more so!

Please share a favorite memory of working in U-46?
My favorite memories are when I worked directly with students. That's always something you miss when you go into administration. I was a school social worker for 17 years and loved conducting whole classroom groups, small groups, individual sessions-simply connecting with students and having them share how having someone to confide in helped them, and when I worked at Elgin High School, I also was the co-sponsor of the multicultural/latino student group and helped coordinate many engaging activities, events, experiences celebrating the Latino culture. Within my role as co-sponsor, I was able to chaperone a trip to Texas for La Raza student leadership conference as part of the Fresh Start Program and enjoyed helping provide this leadership experience to many students who normally wouldn't have had this opportunity. It was impactful for all who attended, and an experience I'll never forget. Additionally, because I worked at all levels from PreK-12 throughout my social work years (including at Central School Programs), I was blessed with the opportunity to work at Streamwood Elementary (a unique and outstanding predominantly all Kinder/EC ALL bilingual school). Before I became full-time at Streamwood High School, I would go from working with teenagers three days a week to then work with 5 year olds the other two days conducting personal safety/boundary-setting groups and SEL Second Step groups (talk about two extremes in age levels). Although the high schoolers were my niche, I had so much fun with the young ones as well...especially during those whole classroom groups!

Briefly describe your post-secondary college and/or career experience.
Purdue-BA, University of Chicago-MA, Roosevelt University-Ed.D.; first year post-masters worked as a maternal-child health social worker at Sherman Hospital, but I was recruited by the late Ron O'Neal to come work at U-46 and Elgin High School specifically (where he was principal...as he had also been my principal at Larsen Middle School when I was a student) due to the need for bilingual social workers.  The rest is history...I never left.

What important life or academic lesson did you learn in U-46?
Keep your eye on the prize, hard work pays off, and never give up-regardless of the obstacles you'll face.

Do you have children attending U-46 schools? If so, which schools?
My children graduated from the Streamwood and Bartlett High School Magnet Academies.