PIQUA — Moving more than 1,000 miles from one’s homeland is a daunting experience, but a warm reception made all the difference for Macarena Dunn.
“In fourth grade, I moved to Piqua from Mexico. I couldn’t even talk English,” Dunn said. “My teachers were so wonderful and helped me so much with learning the language and just helping me cope with this big life change.”
Less than two decades later, she is giving back to the community she now calls home — as an educator who helps youngsters with language.
Dunn, who teaches English Language Arts at Piqua Central Intermediate School, is committed to giving her best to her young charges. “I do it all for them — the late nights, and the extra planning to make sure what we are doing in class is unforgettable,” she said.
Her efforts have paid off in many ways, including a recent award for scoring in the top 100 of the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA).
“All year-three teachers in Ohio have to complete and pass (the RESA) in order to be a licensed teacher,” Dunn explained. “This yearlong assignment entailed videotaping lessons and uploading them for review; analyzing our own classroom practices; and providing artifacts of best practices like: parent/colleague communication and differentiating tests/assignments based on student weaknesses and building on their strengths.”
Her accomplishment earned her an invitation to the prestigious RESA reception at the Ohio Statehouse, which also was attended by Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria, as well as several state legislators.
“To me, this achievement means that my students are receiving 100 percent of my effort and hard work,” said Dunn, a 2009 graduate of Piqua High School. “This award pushes me to keep holding myself to higher and higher standards so my students can reach their highest potential.”
Of those teachers who helped smooth her transition from Mexico to the Midwest, Dunn said, “I owe much of my success to them, which is why I always saw coming back to work in Piqua as a dream.”
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341.