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Teacher Name: Mrs. Linda Merlino
School: Pioneer Valley Christian School, Springfield MA
Reason for Entry: Hello,
Up until this year, my children have been homeschooled and this is the first year they've attended a structured school environment. My youngest son, Matthew, had a bit of a difficult time adjusting to this new way of schooling. Mrs. Merlino has simply been THE BEST teacher I have ever know. She has taken such care of Matthew and gone to the ends of the earth to not only make him comfortable, but is helping him succeed and thrive in school.
Before beginning the school year, Matthew was evaluated for his placement at school and it was suggested that we have additional performed to see if he has any learning difficulties. We had LOTS of tests completed and the testing personnel set up a meeting with us to go over the results. Mrs. Merlino found a substitute for her morning classes and took her own time off to come to the meeting with us so she could hear all of the results. The results of the tests showed that Matthew did have some learning issues but they (the student support services for the public school system) didn't feel that the issues warranted any additional support and could not issue a form for requesting those services and accommodations.
Upon leaving that meeting, Mrs. Merlino told us that she had already spoken to the PVCS principal and, although she couldn't "officially" request additional support services for Matthew, has already lobbied for and received approval from the school to make whatever accommodations Matthew needs to be successful. The school has supported Mrs. Merlino's request and she has already started helping him by creating and implementing some electronic forms and study guides and prepared for alternative testing methods for Matthew. Mrs. Merlino did not have to do anything to change the way she treats any of her students and she's not bound legally to do so. But, because she CARES so very much for my son, she has chosen to do this and help in any way she possibly can.
Matthew is currently the only student that is being provided with this extra assistance and Mrs. Merlino is doing it out of the kindness of her heart and the desire to see her student succeed. Mrs. Merlino has taken so much more of her personal time and devoted it to helping Matthew, I am truly amazed at the care and attention she has given to him. I cannot think of very many, if any, teachers that would go to such lengths for the sake of one student. But she has, and for that I am so very thankful. She's made a tremendous difference in the life of my son, and I cannot thank her enough. Please help me thank her by making her a teacher of the month.