The Office of Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell (D – Long Beach) recognized Angelica Nunez-Lindsay, a credentialed teacher for the Hospital School Program at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach at the annual Teacher of the Year recognition ceremony.
This year's celebration was virtual and recognized teachers who have made a positive impact in the community or in the lives of students, especially in the face of a pandemic.
The Hospital School Program, part of the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program, at Miller Children’s & Women’s was developed to ensure that patients can continue with their academic goals during hospitalization. Angelica has been a hospital school teacher with the program for more than a decade.
Because Miller Children’s & Women’s is a regional hospital, Angelica supports children in grades K - 12 from school districts across the region. When COVID-19 hit and schools went virtual, Angelica not only continued to do in-person instruction at the hospital, but she had to learn to support virtual education like so many teachers in the community. However, she had to learn all the various virtual formats and platforms of the patients she was supporting in the hospital.
Adding to that challenge, many of the hospitalized children didn’t own their own laptop or computer to be able to participate in virtual school. Angelica advocated for her patients by securing iPad and computer donations from generous community donors, so her patients didn’t fall behind.
“It’s difficult for a child to stay on track with their school work while in the hospital, but this year added many more challenges that our patients had to overcome,” says Rita Goshert, director, Child Life Program, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “It was Angelica’s goal to make sure that each of our patients had the resources and support they needed to continue to succeed in their education.”
Angelica was able to help many of her patients graduate on time and even helped plan celebrations for her patients, who reached a milestone in their education while being hospitalized, whether it be graduating from kindergarten, middle or high school. Angelica was not only there for her patients, but their families as well.
Fluent in both English and Spanish, Angelica supported families as they adjusted to virtual school in a language that they were most comfortable with.
“In a year when we saluted teachers across the nation and in our community, we’re so proud of Angelica,” says Goshert. “She truly made an impact this year, and we’re so excited to see her hard work and dedication recognized by our elected officials.”