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Peinado Personalizes Each Student’s Learning Experience

Posted on May 16th, 2014

2014 EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD RECIPIENT, MECHELLE PEINADO
Mt. Ellis Elemtary | Montana Conference
Grades 5-8 Teacher

MPeinado1Before she became a teacher, Mechelle Peinado was an attorney working with individuals who were HIV positive or had AIDS. Despite her clients’ physical ailments, however, many of them were actually suffering from issues that had infected their lives. She found that most of their problems stemmed from pain and damage dealt to them during their childhoods. When Peinado discovered that most of these individuals had no invested adult who saw beyond their behavior to turn to, she realized what she had to do.

“I knew that to change lives, I had to change careers,” Peinado said. “I now teach elementary and middle school. I am so blessed.”

As a teacher, Peinado has shown excellence through her willingness to modify the curriculum to meet the needs of each individual student.

“Seeing and knowing each student for who they are—not just who I see they can be—means I can serve that child where they are, in ways they specifically need,” Peinado said.

Peinado’s unique ability enables her to work with a diversity of students with varying learning disabilities and challenges with the attention they deserve.

“She has developed comprehensive education plans that meet each child’s unique needs and talents, while engaging a classroom of middle school students to have empathy and zeal to model Christ’s character,” said Ric Peinado, head teacher at Mt. Ellis Elementary School.

MPeinado4Instead of focusing on where students may fall short, however, Peinado constantly praises theme for their accomplishments. Her helpful attitude is so contagious that encouraging these children soon became a full-class effort.

“The atmosphere of helping each other in her class is so evident,” said Phil Hudema, Montana Conference superintendent of schools. “It is amazing to watch how all the students work together and help each other.”

Because each student learns differently, Peinado also personalizes discipline to help each child without embarrassing him or her. When a student misbehaves or is unprepared for the day’s lessons, she takes the child aside and quietly works with him or her one-on-one so that no one else notices that the student is being reprimanded.

“She has an effervescent smile in every infraction,” said Jay Jutzy, chair of the Mt. Ellis Elementary Board. “I have observed Mrs. Peinado deal with difficult students in a way that shows respect for the student and keeps their dignity intact.”

MPeinado2Peinado furthers her students’ individual learning experiences by using creative methods to get their families involved. She sends texts, shares through a website, posts on a photo blog and creates weekly e-communications to keep parents updated on their child’s progress and growth. She even went so far as to involve one student’s pastor, parents, grandparents and the school board to prevent him from falling behind when he missed two-thirds of the school year.

“So many parents have commented to me that there is a teacher who cares for my child and is willing to do whatever it takes to make them successful,” Hudema said. “There is a teacher that doesn’t limit herself to just school matters but cares about the future of my child and their spiritual walk with God. There is a teacher where my child can feel loved and safe.”

The horrific stories her clients shared with her while she was an attorney has helped Peinado understand that she is responsible for creating the social and emotional environment she wants for her students. Because of this, she purposefully teaches with enthusiasm and joy.

“Teaching is the most important job that exists,” Peinado said. “I believe this to the core of my being. The importance of teaching doesn’t just lay with the fact that I am educating and preparing children for their temporal futures. The biggest significance of teaching is the opportunity, every single day, to show a captive, impressionable audience Jesus.”

Mechelle Peinado’s award ceremony was on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at Mt. Ellis Elementary Gymnasium.

Montana Conference Superintendent of Schools, Phil Hudema, presented the award to Mechelle Peinado.

This award was sponsored by The Concerned Group in  in Siloam Springs, Ark,. AAF would like to thank The Concerned Group for partnering in this year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards.

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