SAUSD teacher honored by state group as top educator!

“Mendez Fundamental Intermediate teacher Lizette Cabrera has been named as the Outstanding Middle School Educator of the Year by Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement, or MESA, a state group aimed at promoting math and science,” according to the O.C. Register.

According to the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD), MESA honored Cabrera for her outstanding work in assisting educationally disadvantaged students to excel in math and science.  Cabrera was selected from among MESA teachers representing over 100 middle schools in California. Cabrera, a seventh grade science teacher who is a former MESA student, has served as a MESA advisor/teacher for 12 years.

Kudos to Cabrera!  She certainly deserves the accolades she is receiving.  Here is the rest of the SAUSD press release about Cabrera’s award-winning work in the district:

Cabrera joined MESA while teaching at Lathrop Intermediate School in Santa Ana. When Mendez opened in 2002, Cabrera made sure the new school would be starting a MESA program before agreeing to transfer.

Cabrera’s students not only focus on achieving in the classroom, but she also takes them out of the school setting to learn math and science in the Catalina Island Marine Institute, Magic Mountain Physics Day, Astro Camp at Idyllwild and USC’s Engineering Discovery Day.

“Lizette sets high standards for herself and her students,” said Vonna Hammerschmitt, director for the MESA center at CSU Fullerton, which oversees activities at Mendez and other local schools. “She never loses sight of the reason for being a teacher—to inspire, motivate and assist students in the educational process.”

Ninety-six percent of Mendez students are Latino; 89 percent of students at Mendez participate in the free/reduced price meal program and 21 percent are English language learners.

MESA is an academic preparation program that serves over 20,000 California pre-college, community college and university students who are educationally disadvantaged. Fifty-four percent of MESA high school graduates go on to college as math, engineering or science majors. Of California MESA high school graduates who are African American, Latino American and American Indian, 41 percent are eligible for admission to a UC campus compared to the statewide rate of 6.2 percent for African Americans and 6.5 percent for Latino Americans.

MESA serves as a model for similar programs in over a dozen other states. MESA has been named as one of the country’s most innovative public institutions by Innovations in American Government and was honored for its mentoring activities by the White House.

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