Diane Lenz has volunteered weekly for Sergeant Bluff-Luton Elementary School since the fall of 2004. Lenz volunteers many days a week, always armed with a smile and a mission to research methods of helping English as second language (ESL) students grasp the English language.
She brings in materials that she has made or purchased to help a young girl from Russia understand the new world in which she lives. Zalina arrived in the United States during Easter break in 2004. At that point in her life, she spoke very little English. She had been an orphan in Russia and was used to having her own way. Zalina’s response was “noh” to almost everything including the help from Mrs. Lenz. Now, two years later, Zalina looks forward to working with Lenz.
In Zalina’s words, “Mrs. Lenz brings in materials that help me learn. I love playing hangman with her and learning new words.” Zalina’s classroom teacher, Mrs. McCauley appreciates the one-on-one time that Lenz provides for Zalina and other children that need it. She could not possibly give her the time she needs with 20 other student in her classroom that she has to attend to. She is thankful that Lenz is willing to come in on such a regular basis and volunteer her time to help educate Zalina and other children where English is not their native language.
Lenz and Miss Christensen, ESL Teacher, communicate with each other on a regular basis. Lenz uses great strategies to help Zalina work on reading, vocabulary and math skills. Zalina is making great gains in learning the English language as a result of her special time with Lenz.
Once Lenz is finished her time with Zalina, she works with other students from Mrs. Lien’s 5th grade classroom. There she helps children who need reinforcement and practice to gain the necessary skills to be successful as they continue with their education. Mrs. Leins, Mrs. Henrich and the other teachers note the students get excited when they see Lenz arrive at their classroom door. They cannot wait to see which student she will choose to work with.
Lenz is kind and compassionate to all the students and is flexible to meet the different needs of each one. She has also helped with math and as a result, the children have improved on their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division sets. Each of the students feels better about their math skills after working with Lenz.
The students at Sergeant Bluff-Lunton Elementary School enjoy every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 knowing that it might be there lucky day to work with Mrs. Lenz!