BATES MIDDLE SCHOOL AND
ANNAPOLIS MIDDLE SCHOOL
If you ask folks at Bates Middle School and Annapolis Middle School to describe our Employee of the Month in one word, their answer would be “Lifeline!” And that she is – because Monica Lopez has the important job of facilitating communication between home and school for over 400 families who speak Spanish. Not only does she handle the day-to-day communication with Hispanic families at both middle schools, she responds to numerous crises involving students’ safety and health. She is well-known in the Annapolis area, and is considered the “go to” person for the pulse of the Hispanic community.
Monica has been a bilingual facilitator for eight years and is always willing to train new employees entering her field. She readily shares document translations, advice on how to juggle the workload, and shares information about community resources and more. With students and parents she always goes that extra mile. She knows how to gauge where families are at in terms of their level of acculturation and need, and provides just the right amount of hand-holding until they can handle the particular task on their own.
Perhaps nowhere is Monica’s commitment to excellence exemplified than in her willingness to assist the school system’s Communication Office with the translation of automated notification messages to families. She has recorded Spanish versions of all of the system’s weather related closing messages, attendance messages and other key messages. In addition, on a moment’s notice – sometimes late at night or on a weekend – Monica makes herself available to translate and record messages. Her work is invaluable, and critical to families in whose homes the spoken language is Spanish. Because of Monica Lopez, we are able to reach 5,000 families system-wide with information that is crucial to the academic success and well-being of their children.
People who know Monica say that she is a joy to be around. She is a real team player, but works independently as well. She always injects humor into a difficult situation. Monica is extremely reliable. In the words of her supervisor, “I know I can get quick input from her on anything, no matter the time of day. Monica has perfected the art of ‘managing up’ and consistently provides me with information needed to best meet the needs of international families in the county.”
Monica Lopez – you play a critical in the success of the AACPS Spanish-speaking students and the Hispanic community as a whole. You have raised the bar in our school system and you continue to raise it each day. So on behalf of the Board of Education, the students, teachers and staff of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, congratulations on being recognized as Employee of the Month for December 2014 and thank you for being our “Lifeline” for the Hispanic community!