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ESE Teacher Nomination for Outstanding Performance – Melissa Whitley – Glades Middle School, Miramar

Please accept this nomination of Ms. Whitley for the outstanding performance of an ESE Teacher. Ms. Whitley serves the middle school SVE (Students with Varying Exceptionalities) group at Glades Middle School. My daughter, Isabella Alejo, has been fortunate to have Ms. Whitley for two years in a row: 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. Ms. Whitley is more than a teacher, as her experience and bubbly personality motivate any child into learning. She will do whatever it takes to make sure her students are learning, included in all activities, and having fun. This year, she embarked on a journey to help her SVE students learn to code. She has also engaged the students in cooking, yoga, and even gardening.

My daughter enjoys wearing a tutu, so Ms. Whitley came up with “TuTu-Thursday” to motivate her performance during the week. If she met her goals, she would be able to wear a tutu with Ms. Whitley. Now that schools are closed it has been tough on parents with special needs. In March, Ms. Whitley arrived at our home with materials such as puzzles, worksheets, and notebooks that my daughter was used to working on in the class. These tools were all familiar to her, and they helped us get through the weeks where she was not interested in using technology. Ms. Whitley checks up on her students every week, and just last week she noticed something was not right with my daughter when they video conferenced. She insisted on coming to our home, which is about an hour’s drive from her home, to sit with Bella and encourage her. She came with her mask and maintained social distance, but my daughter did not mind. Immediately, her mood changed, and she told us how happy she was to see Ms. Whitley.

As a parent, I have never seen a teacher with the energy, enthusiasm, and positivity that Ms. Whitley demonstrates. She truly loves her students and families and will go above and beyond for them. Sometimes it is hard to see the progress immediately with our students, but I have seen my daughter make great strides in her class. Now more than ever, I can see how much Ms. Whitley has dedicated to teaching her students and making a positive impact on their academic growth. The love and magic that Ms. Whitley spreads are truly amazing, and we feel blessed that my daughter was able to learn so much. Thank you for your consideration of her nomination.

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