Staff Spotlight: Madelyn Torres
Posted on 05/02/2024
Madelyn Torres

Staff Spotlight: Madelyn Torres

Madelyn Torres is the EL/Bilingual Coordinator for East Hartford Public Schools who manages the language testing and reporting for all new arrivals and transfers. She is highly-organized and efficient to ensure all of East Hartford’s English Learners have the supports they need to succeed in class while also acquiring a language.

“This role is a very complex and detail-oriented role, and Madelyn is just amazing. She has great professional work ethics and work habits. She is a problem solver. She's excellent at reaching out and asking the right questions and collaborating with a lot of different people,” said Elizabeth Peczuh, Supervisor of EHPS World Language, EL and Bilingual Programs.

Peczuh explained that the EL/Bilingual Coordinator’s work begins as soon as new EHPS families register their children for school. Torres receives that information from Central Registration and begins the process of testing and determining what services these students may need.

“This is a really critical role for our district that a lot of people don't even know exists,” said Peczuh. “In the last year alone, she probably processed over 300 new students that have been coming in brand new to East Hartford Public Schools from either another state, another town, or mostly from other countries.”

Learn more about Torres in the Q&A below.

What does your role as EL/Bilingual Coordinator entail?

Torres: We currently have two bilingual coordinators. My colleague is the person who is responsible for translating and interpreting for the district. And I am the person who takes the initial steps in identifying potential English learners to make sure that they receive the necessary supports to acquire the English language.

My day-to-day work varies. It can be anywhere from monitoring new students who arrive to the district and may be potential English learners. These are students who have another language in their household, and this is data that we obtain from the home language survey during the enrollment process. It could be administering placement tests, which is our English language proficiency screener. I’m in constant communication with staff informing them of new students that arrived to let them know that they may need to be potentially screened or providing them a history to determine the proper placement. In addition to that, I also keep staff informed in regards to CSDE updates to make sure that we are doing our best and giving the best instruction to our EL population.

Once students are identified, I also keep families informed of all of the EL services that their students are receiving, as well as what’s happening, such as the LAS Links assessment, which is a statewide assessment that is administered to all of the EL learners. I also assist throughout the year with this testing.

How did you get into this type of work? How long have you been working here in East Hartford?

Torres: I've been here for approximately five and a half years. I initially started working in East Hartford Public Schools as a Coordinator at the Silver Lane Family Resource Center. And just over a year ago, I had the opportunity to embrace this role as a bilingual coordinator, which I love.

What interested you about this role?

Torres: One of the things that drew me to this role is actually the opportunity to be able to be part of a process that I actually lived myself at a younger age. For me it was the opposite, I actually moved to Puerto Rico when I was in elementary, and I only spoke English. So I did not know Spanish and I did struggle a little bit in the beginning because of the language barrier. It was quite difficult to socialize. It was quite difficult to do well academically. I did need extra supports because of that reason.

The ability to be able to be a support system to English learners and families, it was something that I needed when I was at a young age. So I know, I understand, I value the importance of the work we do every day to make sure that they are successful as they acquire the English language in school.

What are some of your favorite things about doing this job?

Torres: It's just the opportunity to be able to make a difference in the lives of the students. Just knowing that the work that I do, although it may appear to be mainly behind the scenes, I know that what I do does make a difference in the lives of English learners.

It gives parents, families a peace of mind when I have the opportunity to talk with them and share with them the different types of supports that we offer to students who receive ESL or bilingual services. You can almost see a relief in their faces just to know that their students will transition into this new environment and navigate this new experience despite the language barrier, but will have an overall positive experience because of what we can offer them.

I’m just very grateful to have the opportunity to be able to do what I do every day. I find this job very rewarding. It's not just a job at the desk. It's much more than that. And I enjoy being part of this process in supporting our population and also being part of the amazing team who strives to give 100% to the students that we serve every day.