Poly High School Teacher Maria Constantino has earned the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award from the California Association for Bilingual Education.
“I didn’t expect this honor because there are so many extraordinary bilingual teachers working to help students in California,” said Constantino, who has taught for 25 years, including two years in Mexico, three years in Peru, and 19 years in the Long Beach Unified School District.
Constantino teaches algebra and geometry, including versions of the math classes that offer Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE), allowing her to connect with students who are still mastering English. Her teaching philosophy is that “all students have a right to a good education.”
Constantino also teaches Spanish and Advanced Placement Spanish Literature.
Poly Principal Joe Carlson said Constantino’s students last year achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the AP Spanish Language exam, with 67 percent earning the highest standard of 5. Carlson also credits Constantino with helping to raise Poly’s Academic Performance Index for English Learner students by 57 points in 2012.
“Maria Constantino serves as a model of what teachers can and should be doing for our diverse student population,” Carlson said.
Constantino will accept her award on Thursday, Feb. 14 during CABE’s annual conference at the Long Beach Convention Center.