Educator of the Month
Each year, Anne Arundel County Public Schools educates between 650 and 1300 students who have been designated as homeless. That’s right, roughly 1.5% of Anne Arundel County Public Schools are comprised of students who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate residence. Children in these circumstances are more vulnerable to disruptions to their education, social networks, and health care, which adversely impact their well-being and development.
Today we honor an educator in the school system who is a fierce advocate for students experiencing homelessness. She has expanded the resources and programs that are offered to help close the achievement gap. She advocates for transportation needs, specifically vans, to support this population. She has developed and maintained “The Power of One” mentoring program to support unaccompanied homeless youth, advocated for summer camps specifically for younger students experiencing homelessness. She helps plan professional development for staff to stay on top of the trends in data and research. She has also hired additional resource Pupil Personnel Workers to help directly with early childhood education to identify and provide resources to those families.
Who is this angel? None other than Jennifer Laque, Pupil Personnel Worker, McKinney-Vento Education Resource Liaison.
In addition to the professional development mentioned earlier, Ms. Laque supported the “EMPOWER” youth speaker series presented by the office of Pupil Personnel. The series provides speakers to students experiencing homelessness, kinship care families, and students in Social Services and Juvenile Service situations. Ms. Laque routinely meets with student data to run reports regarding the academic needs of our McKinney-Vento youth and the Title I office to coordinate the use of funds to meet student needs.
She also established a partnership with Anne Arundel County Housing Commission and the collation to end homelessness, to hold sixty housing vouchers for AACPS use, so that PPW’s could refer families to gain housing directly.
Ms. Laque is a highly respected leader with her colleagues, within other departments in the school system and with agencies throughout Anne Arundel County. She has collaborated with key stakeholders to ensure that the needs of our most vulnerable populations are exceeded. She has encouraged everyone to think outside the box about creative solutions to help students in need.
Jennifer Laque – you are the embodiment of what every teacher, educator, and staff member should be; you are passionate about supporting all students and ensuring that the policy, regulation, and law are applied with equity and transparency. So, on behalf of the Board of Education and Anne Arundel County Public Schools, it is our honor to recognize you as Educator of the Month for December 2023. Congratulations!