NPPS names ELL para Staff Person of the Month

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - A North Platte Public Schools staff member received quite the surprise and no it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke.

Mariela Marroquin is the district’s English Language Learner para-professional. She’s been working closely with elementary students who currently speak 13 different languages throughout the district for the past five years.

She received the Staff Person of the Month award from the school foundation after she was nominated by ELL Coordinator Kelli Sheets.

“Several of our parents contact her at all hours and ask questions not just on academic and educational support, but where they can renew their driver’s license, how to find a translator, how they can get help for their student for tutoring, so she is a community resource and a huge asset to our district for sure,” Sheets said.

Marroquin is one of more than 50 staff members who have been nominated so far this year.

“I think that every student is able to succeed and I think every student is able to go to college or have a really good career and future,” said Marroquin. “Not only that, but us as educators we need to be a role model for them too. We tell our students, ‘you can do it, you can go to college.’ We need to be that example and set our expectations high, not only for us, but also for our students.”

The program was started by Superintendent Dr. Ron Hanson when he moved to the district six years ago.

“We don’t think that in North Platte, Nebraska that we have 13 different languages spoken here in our community, but we are becoming more diverse as people continue to come to work here in our community, so it’s a great thing to have diversity in your community,” Hanson said. “We have the support systems for it and we have one of the best ELL programs in the state of Nebraska with these two individuals.”

Each month local businesses help sponsor by donating flowers.

“Thanks to our sponsors like Prairie Friends and Flowers who have been with the foundation longer than I have supporting this program and along with our other business partners,” said school foundation executive director Terri Burchell. “Even our board members that own businesses step up and support, they know it’s important to not just support the school district, but also the educators because they are making it a great environment for the students here.”

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