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Garden City Life - Schools

Employee Spotlight

Jennifer LaLima excels in role as ESL teacher

Each month the district honors a valued employee whose exemplary efforts improve the quality of students’ educational experience in Garden City Public Schools.

“It is with great pleasure that we shine this year’s Employee Spotlight on Jennifer LaLima,” said Hemlock Principal Audrey Bellovin. “As the primary and elementary ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, Jennifer covers a lot of territory, both figuratively and literally. Each year, her students may change, as new students enter into the district and others exit the program.

Mrs. LaLima happily adjusts her schedule. Her guiding principle is always: What is the best thing for the students and their families? How can we make them the most comfortable in their new surroundings? With characteristic sensitivity to the needs of her students, Mrs. LaLima has set up parent groups as a way of providing support for each other. In addition, she holds an annual luncheon and invites all the families, those currently in her program, and even the ‘graduates.’ It is an opportunity for each of the students and their parents to share something unique about their culture. The children sample foods from other places – always an adventure! Mrs. LaLima serves as the bridge for the students as they become accustomed to a new, foreign, and sometimes scary place. It is wonderful to hear the laughter of an otherwise quiet student as he/she begins to open up and try out the English language in the safe and secure environment Mrs. LaLima has created. Jennifer also provides the classroom teachers with support to assist them in meeting the needs of the students. She is compassionate, kind, and dedicated to all children. We are fortunate to have someone like Jennifer La Lima!”