Award & Grant Opportunities
2011 Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year
Patricia J. Urdialez
No, it’s not the latest hit Broadway show, the trendy new restaurant in town or the championship sports team. It’s family literacy in Mesa, Arizona. And the success is due, in large part, to Patricia Urdialez, the 2011 Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year.
Together with the parents, Patricia works to develop a learning strategy to help their child. She listens to the children and makes them feel special — adding her own special touch of enthusiasm to every answer. Her adult students look forward to class because they know every topic will enrich their lives and the lives of their families.
As a result, teachers have recognized that children whose parents participate in Patricia’s class have increased levels of achievement. Families now have library cards and unprecedented access to the school’s Media Center. They also are starring in their own short film at Family Movie Night — where they recommend their favorite books to others.
Families also are learning to become integrated and involved members of the community. Thanks to Patricia’s leadership, students from the family literacy program assist with distribution at a local food bank twice a month. They also help create the school yearbook and volunteer at the annual Book Fair. In addition, most of the Parent/Teacher Organization officers are her students or former students.
Patricia’s leadership is transforming family literacy far beyond her program. Each month, adult educators meet and exchange ideas, questions and concerns. Patricia’s colleagues look to her for advice on improving enrollment and attendance in the family literacy program at their school.
The success of the Longfellow Elementary families also has been recognized at the district level. Other principals are interested in having the program at their school, and Title I began funding the program when the initial funding ended.
Toyota and the National Center for Family Literacy are pleased to recognize Patricia J. Urdialez as the 2011 Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year.