Marina Kravtov joined San Mateo Adult School in 2011 as a Beginning ESL student from Russia. After completing our ESL program, she was hired as our English Language Specialist, here, starting in 2016.
As the Adult School attempted to implement its very first ever hybrid model program, a combination of online and in person programs, Marina persevered and transcended these extremely challenging times to demonstrate innovative practices and an outstanding commitment to the Adult School. Going above and beyond, despite being understaffed and experiencing various deficits due to COVID, she implemented and carried out exemplary registration and orientation processes to serve students since the start of the COVID pandemic.
To support school enrollments, Marina, coordinating with other staff, held numerous, multiple, small orientation sessions, as opposed to holding the typical pre-pandemic large sessions, to accommodate students, while working within mandated social distancing guidelines to protect their safety. This approach created more work for staff and significantly increased hours over many days, serving students, including managing multiple communications with hundreds of lower level non-English speakers by email.
Being an immigrant herself, an English language learner and former San Mateo Adult School student, has contributed to Marina's ability to empathize with our immigrant students and has added to her unique perspective, and in-depth knowledge of how to acquire a second language. She incorporates that knowledge into planning and improving our systems, measurements, rubrics, and placement of students. Her experience and involvement in helping to improve our measurements has helped us improve our students' placements, increased enrollment numbers and improved our data overall. She feels a high level of responsibility and goes beyond her duties to make sure students as well as staff, don't get lost in this complex multi-level process.
Marina has made tremendous contributions, being the main driver in developing the roles of our student volunteers, including mentoring and fostering their leadership skills. She contacts them, trains them, and supports their development as leaders in our program. She is a professional psychologist in her native country of Russia and brings compassion and understanding to student volunteer
development, which is also based on her professional experiences.
Marina’s colleagues have a tremendous amount of appreciation and respect for her and value working with her. She is collaborative. She takes initiative and consults to assure she is carrying out guidelines. She is irreplaceable. She has led parent groups, as well as various presentations on mental health. She always tries to find ways to improve our systems, and to look at our program overall with the intention of how to best serve, support and help direct our student population, while always showing concern for staff.