Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

2017 Award Citation

Teaching & Learning Program
Distinguished Alumna Award

Karen Tellez, MEd 2013 -
English Language Teaching & Learning

Ms. Karen Tellez is the 2017 recipient of the Teaching and Learning Distinguished Alumni Award. Karen has a strong connection to Loyola’s School of Education.  She received her MEd in English Language Teaching and Learning (ELTL) from Loyola in 2014.  Additionally, she has taught as an adjunct for our TLLSC graduate program, participated in Alumni panels, and led professional development workshops for area educators as part of Loyola’s Language Matter Grant Project.

‌As a dedicated educator, Karen has been teaching in Chicago Public Schools at Bateman Elementary School for 18 years.  Karen demonstrates a high degree of commitment to and investment in Loyola’s mission of Social Justice through Action in all she does as a teacher, leader, and advocate for her students and their families. She is guided in her work by her strong belief in the potential of all students to learn and the rights of all students to have the best education possible. Karen embodies the idea that to make this happen, teachers need to know and build on their students’ strengths and demonstrates that the best teaching comes from knowing your students and valuing all that they bring with them to the classroom.

While working on her Masters, Karen began coaching other teachers as part of her teaching load to help all teachers meet the needs of English language learner (ELL) students. Karen approached this work as she does all her endeavors, with great energy and enthusiasm. She worked with all teachers (including classroom and auxiliary (e.g., art, P.E., music, etc.) teachers to help them learn how to integrate a focus on language into their teaching of their content area. Furthermore, Karen developed and conducted school-wide in-service workshops to help teachers gain more knowledge of the key elements of working with ELLs including understanding their funds of knowledge, using WIDA standards to guide instruction and modification of curriculum. She also has focused efforts on improving and expanding family engagement.

In strong part because of the work Karen has done, Bateman has been recognized by CPS for their outstanding work on behalf of their students and families. One form that this recognition came in was with an invitation from the CPS Office of Language and Culture (OLCE) for them to apply to create a Dual Language Program Strand at the school. Once again, Karen led this effort organizing input from university partners, other teachers at Bateman, and community members. As a result of Karen’s hard work and leadership Bateman was informed at the end of last school year that they received approval from OLCE to begin their planning process for creating and implementing a Dual Language Program.